This is Blueprint’s (alphabetical) selection of some of the highlight country pavilion offerings at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale in the Giardini. For an in-depth look at the Caruso St John-designed British Pavilion see other posts on this site. You can also find our choice of work on show at the Arsenale, along with a longer look at the V&A special project, which includes an 8-tonne section of the Smithsons’ Robin Hood Gardens social housing development in London, which is currently being demolished.
Curators: Baracco+Wright Architects with artist Linda Tegg
Ten thousand plants inside and outside of the Australian pavilion look to recreate a typical Australian grassland and an oasis of calm and rejuventation in the Giardini – a garden within a garden. Inside, the installation Skylight simulates bright daylight above the plants, while the accompanying experimental film showcases 15 Australian projects that ‘integrate built and natural systems to effect repair of the environment’.
Curators: Architect Encore Heureux with Collectif Etc
As a marker for future development in the country, France showcases 10 ‘exemplary’ architectural projects, which have reused old buildings and brought them back to life. The opening central space also reuses material from the 2017 art biennale and features an eclectic mix of everyday objet trouve.
The School of Athens
Curator: Neiheiser Argyros
One of the stand-out pavilions in the Giardini, Greece has chosen to exhibit a series of small, white,3D-printed models of educational buildings throughout the ages, from Plato’s Academy to modern times. The key difference here is that the models only feature the communal spaces from the structures, leading to new readings and interpretations of the buildings.
Liberty Bridge – New Urban Horizons
Curators: Architect Studio Nomad with Kulturgorilla
Like Britain, Hungary looked to create a new space on top of its pavilion, but chose to put the staircase in the heart of the building itself. Two creative collectives, Kulturgorilla and Studio Nomad, want people to ‘explore the building like never before’. This is based around the experience of the Liberty Bridge, one of the oldest Danube crossings in Budapest. It was closed to vehicles in 2016 and that move resulted in the city’s inhabitants – particularly millennials – ‘informally’ colonising it, creating a vibrant community-centred space in the heart of the city.
Curator: Finnish architect Eero Lunden
This pavilion responds to the biennale’s theme of Freespace by exploring the relationship between nature and the built environment. Meant to promote not only a discourse between people, but also between humans and nature, the Nordic pavilion features some decidedly organic pods with wires and tubes worming in and out, like life-support systems. Air (they are inflated) and water combine ‘to create a visible and dynamic cellular structure’. And there’s not a stick of blond wood in sight…
Curator: Architect Atxu Amann
Using the walls from floor to ceiling, Spain chooses to look at student projects and research and proposals ‘that critically review the past, that redefine everyday spaces of the present, and those that imagine a future based on sustainability, wellbeing and social justice, as well as visions that fuse the real world and the virtual one’.
Dimensions of Citizenship
Curators: Ann Lui, Mimi Zeiger and Niall Atkinson
The US Pavilion addresses head on the subject of citizenship – a thorny issue, particularly so in the US – across the widest range, in ‘seven spatial scales: Citizen, Civitas, Region, Nation, Globe, Network and Cosmos’. Collaborators in the project include: Amanda Williams and Andres L Hernandez, Studio Gang, Estudio Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Luara Kurgan and Robert Gerard Pietrusko with the Columbia Center for Spatial Research.