Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Venice: La Biennale di Venezia - 14th International Architecture - Central Pavilion - Elements of Architecture

Venice: La Biennale di Venezia - 14th International Architecture - Central Pavilion - Elements of Architecture.  The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, entitled Fundamentals, directed by Rem Koolhaas and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, will be open until November 23. In the Giardini at the Central Pavilion the exhibition the Elements of Architecture one of the three components of the Fundamentals exhibition, along with Monditlaia and Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014.

Rem Koolhaas and Paolo Baratta “With Rem Koolhaas we have created an exceptional, research-centered Architecture Biennale. Rem has planned an event that involves all of Biennale’s sectors, along with a bevy of researchers.” Baratta states.

Elements of Architecture.   Koolhaas writes “This exhibition is the result of a two-year research studio with the Harvard Graduate School of Design and collaborations with a host of experts from industry and academia...  Elements of Architecture looks under a microscope at the fundamentals of our buildings, used by any architect, anywhere, anytime: the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the roof, the door, the window, the facade, the balcony, the corridor, the fireplace, the toilet, the stair, the escalator, the elevator, the ramp. The exhibition is a selection of the most revealing, surprising, and unknown moments from a new book, Elements of Architecture that reconstructs the global history of each element. It brings together ancient, past, current, and future versions of the elements in rooms that are each dedicated to a single element.”

Manfredo di Robilant and Rem Koolhaas

Elements of Architecture – The Ceiling. With Manfredo di Robilant. Typical false ceiling, its systems exposed covering the 1909 dome painting by Galileo Chini.

Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…”  … and then, through cracks in the stucco of the ceiling, the room of the others…

Amo’s James Westcott

Elements of Architecture – Intro. In isolation, e o a are terrifying – film montage by Davide Rapp.

Elements of Architecture – Window.  The collector and the producer: 17th-19th century English windows rescued by preservationist Charles Brooking, contemporary window factory and testing device.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…”  The octagonal opening high in the attic, the first window I understood as a perforation, strong and white, with clouds passing at surprising speeds in the day, shafts of moonlight at night…

Elements of Architecture – Window.  17th-19th century English windows rescued by preservationist Charles Brooking.

Axel and May Vervoordt

Elements of Architecture – Corridor. With Stephan Truby. Embedded in a contemporary exit corridor, photos, videos and simulations. In the corridor, Tonci Foscari.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” To get there you passed through a short corridor that absorbed all sound, as if it barely existed…

Elements of Architecture – Balcony. With Tom Avermaete, above. Without the balcony, the history of the world would have been totally different.  The two major manifestations of balconies: as political platform, and as social democratic balm.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” Without my parents balcony I would not be here.  They lived on the fifth floor of a new social democratic walk-up….

 Elements of Architecture – Balcony - 1937 Fuhrer Balcony, Berlin.

Elements of Architecture – Floor. With Keller Easterling.  False floor (occupied by a Roomba cleaning Robot); one section dedicated to a power-generating dance floor; samples of notable floors from around the world lean against the walls.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” The floor would bounce and vibrate under my negligible weight.   The intricacy and variety of the parquet was probably the first evidence of complexity…  Not only the patterns, but all the floors were frayed:  wood had been burned when there was no more coal… then the floor would suddenly be restored to perfection.  Ah, to have been a child when nothing was childish…

Elements of Architecture – Facade.  With Alejandro Zaera-Polo.  Collection of facade sections from around the world, surrounded by the cloud of political and cultural narratives that inform their materiality and design.

Elements of Architecture – Facade.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…”  From the balcony, you could see the old town, framed on either side by a naked man and a naked woman carved from stone who helped to carry the weight of the roof, their backs turned to the apartment…They dominated the facade.   

Elements of Architecture – Fireplace.  Early manmade fire to latest MIT technologies – the device-ification of central hearth.
Above. A 3D print of a Piranesi fireplace. 

Elements of Architecture – Fireplace – 228ka (228,000 years ago)

Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” You could walk straight into the huge fireplace at my grandfather’s house… made of brick, glazed the color of fire – above it a huge painting of a horse stumbling over a felled trunk… clearly a message.

  Elements of Architecture – Fireplace.  MIT Sensible City Lab: Miriam Roure, Matthew Claudel, Leigh Christie, Deepak Vasisht and Matthias Danzmayr


Elements of Architecture – Wall.  From solid to insubstantial, a sequence of different wall types, including: brick and mud walls fabricated on site, a Russian Yurta mesh partition, a retractable fire curtain, a kinetic wall…
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” The wall of my small bedroom, when it started to shudder and then cracked in two parts, my bed jumping off the floor… much later friends took me to a kampong – a hut full of intrigue, made of woven palm leaves, immune to any earthquakes…


Elements of Architecture – Toilet.  The toilet through history, from a Roman chariot model found at the baths of Caracalla to the latest Japanese washlet, to a new type of toilet, the “Blue Diversion”,  developed for “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Above. Ca. 100-200 AD Chariot Latrine of Baths of Caracalla, Rome - 2013 Inax Satis Washlet - Traditional Japanese Squat Toilet.

Elements of Architecture – Toilet – 1895 Urinal Vineta
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” It seemed deep as a well, a distant hole, through which waste simply disappeared, the toilet, unburdened by any intent of design…

Elements of Architecture – Elevator. With Eindhoven University of Technology Robotics and Lerch Bates.  From1995 to 1997 Otis worked on a revolutionary system that enabled elevator cabs to travel vertically and horizontally – potentially changing high-rise architecture.
Above. The Univator, a linear drive based elevator which moves in a curve,  designed by Adrian (in the photo) and Mike Godwin.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” First experience of an elevator, the day my grandfather showed med his building, stacked me in a paternoster from which I did not dare escape, once I was in…

Elements of Architecture – Roof.  The current flat roof is an historical exception.  First translation of 1103 treatise reveals surprising (political and economic) relevance.
Above. Collection of early Indonesian huts and contemporary advanced geometry roofs.

Elements of Architecture – Roof.  2012-2013 New National Stadium Tokyo Zaha Hadid
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” Mansard roof with concave basis and convex covering with protruded cornice frieze – was like a Gehry sculpture supported by two Doric columns – the only ones in our city…

Elements of Architecture – Door. Complex entry procedures betray the contrast between the door as solid mass, represented by the 14-door security gates at the Austrian castle Hochosterwitz, and its digital counterpart:  the virtual security mechanisms embedded in the airport.

 Elements of Architecture – Door – History of door handles by FSB.
FSB’s Matthias Fuchs

Elements of Architecture – Door – Security mechanisms embedded in airports.
Rem Koolhaas – “I Remember…” The monumental door of the mansion that my mother had squatted after the war.  A first experience of class…


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