Venice – Giardini #1: 13th International Architecture Biennale Exhibition. The 13th International Architecture Biennale Exhibition, until November 25th is directed by David Chipperfield. Entitled Common Ground it consist of a single exhibition through the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and the Arsenale: David Chipperfield presented an exhibition with 69 projects, by architects, photographers, artists, critics and scholars. Many of them responded to his invitation with original proposals and installations expressly created for this Biennale, involving in their projects other colleagues with whom they share a Common Ground. There are a total of 119 participants.
Above. The Central Pavilion, La Biennale at the Giardini.
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Alison Crawshaw – The Politics of Bricolage. The works engage with the diverse and endemic phenomenon of ‘abusivismo edilizio’ (unlawful building) in Rome. Since 1945, more than 28 percent of the built area of the city has been built without planning permission. Together, the works exhibited, present the phenomenon from the sky and from the ground. A film, Flight Over the Toponimis, comprises aerial footage taken from a helicopter documenting the latest phase of unregulated construction in the periphery of the city. It is presented within an addition to the entrance of the Central Pavilion. The Big Balcony. This installation is an over-scaled reference to the boxing in of balconies prevalent across Rome, representing the most ubiquitous form of illegal construction.
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Silver Lion - Grafton Architects (Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara) – Architecture as New Geography. The Silver Lion of the International Exhibition Common Ground was awarded to Grafton Architects (Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara) as a promising and emerging practice. For their impressive presentation of a new University campus in Lima, connecting to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The jury believes that the conceptual and spatial qualities of this installation demonstrate the considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape.
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Steve Parnell – Architecture Magazines: Playgrounds and Battle Grounds. Academic and architect Steve Parnell has committed years to researching architecture magazines as a social and intellectual common ground for architecture, charting their influence on architects, and vica versa, through the 20th century. For the Venice Biennale, Parnell has broadened his research to four seminal magazines, each of which still publishes today, and traces the extraordinary ways these magazines have bound together groups of people during key periods of architectural history.
Charts on the walls trace the relationship of individuals, institutions and the press through history, and the original magazines have been carefully gathered together so visitors can read for themselves how these relationships played out in print. The room is intended as a reading room, placed just a door away from the Biennale’s own archive and emphasizing how magazines have been one of the key media through which architectural ideas and disciplinary networks are propagated.
Venice in Peril’s John Millerchip
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Crimson Architectural Historians - The Banality of Good. The Banality of Good exhibition is a strident critique of the trajectory of urban planning in the 20th and 21st centuries, and an elegy for the time when architecture and urban design was developed alongside optimistic social ideas Dutch architectural historians Crimson chart a historical shift from the idealistic urban plans of the modern period, which were founded on clear communitarian ideals, to today’s new towns, where ideals of emancipation, social equality and progress are wholly absent.
This exhibition argues that while today’s new towns, across the world, are formally similar to modern ones, they embody diametrically opposed ideas, replacing concepts of the just, the moral and the good with an efficiency, expediency and individual choice.
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Fulvio Irace – Facecity. Facecity is an interpretation of Common Ground that uses postwar Milan as a perfect case study. The starting point is the city as a work of collective work: a palimpsest of facades built by many architects who acted as an intellectual and creative collectivity, like a dialogue among many voices somehow according one to the others. The main issue is on the theme of the façade as an urban contribution to a shared landscape that deals with modernity, lightness, optimistic confidence in a viable future. Each building is an effort in defining the public ‘face’ of new classes that emerged in the postwar as actors of urban regeneration. The issue was taken by Milanese architects (Caccia Dominioni, Ponti, Gardella, Magistretti, Mangiarotti, Morassutti, Asnago and Vender) as filed for confrontation: the common ground was the shaping of the condominium as the new format for housing in the modern metropolis. The photographs are by Pino Musi.
Above. Critic and curator Fulvio Irace is being interviewed.
Above. A video by Francesca Molteni shows her interviewing project designers C+S, Carlo Cappai and Maria Alessandra Segantini, who explain their idea of continuity.
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Muf Architecture/Art, Jane Da Mosto, Michela Scibilia – Parallel Operations. London-based architecture and art practice Muf used the opportunity of the Biennale to initiate a conversation between groups of people from Whitechapel, in East London, all of whom live or work near Altab Ali Park, a public space project Muf designed and recently completed. For Muf, the city’s common ground should always accommodate difference, rather than suppress it in favor of consensus or homogeneity. Whitechapel is a part of London that exemplifies a place where ‘common ground’ is in a state of constant flux, and Altab Ali Park is a case study of overlapping, expired and deliberately erased cultural identities. Present in the discussion (and represented in the space by shelves of books) are educationalists, Lutherans, Muslims, secular Bangladeshis, anarchists, academics, activists and other who use the park and form the rich social topography of this part of the city.
Jane Da Mosto and Muf’s Liza Fior
Central Pavilion La Biennale: Diener and Diener – Gabriele Basilico. The installation takes the Biennale gardens themselves as an intellectual common ground and locus of discourse about architecture. But instead of reflecting on the content of past exhibitions, Diener and Diener has commissioned a series of new pieces of critique and commentary about the pavilions themselves, the architectural settings for the Biennale’s exhibits. Gabriele Basilico has collaborated in this installation through a special series of large-scale photographic works, which record the buildings; these are curated here by Adele Re Rebaudengo.
Dutch archistar Rem Koolhaas
Architects Kristian Koreman and Peter Haasbroer
Architecture Biennale: Japan - Golden Lion for the Best National Participation. The Golden Lion for the Best National Participation, which captures the spirit of Common Ground, was awarded to the Japanese Pavilion in which leading international architect Toyo Ito collaborated with younger architects and with the local community to address in a practical and imaginative way the design of a new center for a region devastated by a national disaster. “The presentation and the storytelling in the Pavilion are exceptional and highly accessible to a broad audience. The jury was impressed with the humanity of this project.” The jury declared.
Japan – Architecture, Possible here? Home-for All. By means of plastic art and photography, spectators will get to know the protagonists and the diverse phases of the project called Home-for-All. From huge scale testimonials of the desolate, confused landscapes of post-tsunami Japan, we go on to the precision models conceived by a team of architects and inhabitants of the zone ravaged by the earthquake. A temporary installation for an equally ephimeral project, which intends to soothe the nostalgia of ruined places which are waiting to be rebuilt.
Architecture possible here? Home-for-All: Naoya Hatakeyama; Kumiko Inui; Sou Fujimoto; Akihisa Hirata
Commissioner: Toyo Ito. Deputy Commissioners: Atsuko Sato, Tae Mori.
Archistar Toyo Ito “Since the modern period, architecture has been rated highest for its originality. As a result the most primal themes, why a bulding is made, and for whom, have been forgotten. A disaster zone where everything is lost offers the perfect opportunity for us to take a fresh look, from the ground up, at what architecture really is.” Ito wrote.
Architecture Biennale: U.S.A. - Special Mention. A Special Mention goes to the United States of America for ‘SpontaneousInterventions: Design Actions for the Common Good’. This interactive installation impressed the Jury with its celebration of the power of individuals to change society in small but effective ways. The unpretentiously simple presentation was a delight.
Above: The courtyard. The courtyard is, in fact, an open living room, in which it is possible to stop and discuss, exchange opinions and experiences and begin to get closer to the exhibition.
U.S.A. - SpontaneousInterventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. A system of self propelled banners, positioned inside the pavilion, upon which run 124 testimonies of micro-interviews created on U.S. territory from planning studies, artists and, above all, American citizens who have reacted to the contemporary urban situation.
U.S.A. - SpontaneousInterventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. The floor of the installation.
SpontaneousInterventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. Commissioner/Curator: Cathy Lang Ho. Curators: Ned Cramer, David van der Leer. Deputy Curators: Paola Antonelli, Anne Guiney, Zoe Ryan, Michael Sorkin.