There is no shortage of drama in architecture. In a constellation of anticipation and suspense, developing design projects—particularly large works planned for the public realm—are keenly followed and critiqued, both eruditely by architecture's opining class of professional critics and casually by the hoi polloi. Buildings then emerge unashamedly in full public view, like weary exhibitionists whose once dare-devilish exploits have long since become a dull routine. And occasionally, even the destruction of architecture signals a kind of performance. While the recent tragedy at Notre Dame was not quite what Hugo had in mind, that conflagration's rapid dissemination through print and digital media underscores the 19th-century novelist's insistence on architecture as an endangered—yet formidable—protagonist. This histrionic capacity of architecture unsurprisingly extends to—or perhaps emanates from—the academy. In a fashion of education quite unlike most others, students of architecture are constantly engaged in a highly choreographed presentation of their work, resulting in a highly public (and sometimes traumatizing) cycle of humiliation and praise. The dramatics that unfold in the architectural academy are well known to playwright Oren Safdie, who, before embarking on a writing career that has spanned nearly three decades, earned a master’s degree at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. And while pursuing these studies may have initially been an endeavor to maintain ties with the family business (the playwright's father is Moshe Safdie), Oren's experiences in architecture school clearly impacted his writing. Indeed, one of Safdie's earliest plays, Private Jokes, Public Places, detailed a young architecture student's final presentation which, thanks to the presence of some big and obnoxious egos on the jury, spiraled horrendously out of control (staging the play has become a kind of annual tradition at architecture schools around the world). Some years later, in The Bilbao Effect, Safdie's satirical pen revisited architecture, this time with a decidedly more macabre stroke. In Bilbao, we see the fallout that occurs when the play's starchitect-protagonist, Erhardt Shlaminger, is blamed by a Staten Island resident for the death of his wife, who—unable to reconcile herself with the formal qualities of a new Schlaminger tower in her bailiwick—is driven to suicide. Safdie's latest project, Color Blind, returns once again to architecture and its potential for drama and (perhaps unwanted) spectacle, but this time in the context of race. The play, which was debuted in a read-through at the University at Buffalo, is a fictionalized account of the jury deliberations surrounding the selection of an architect for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., Designed by David Adjaye, the NMAAHC was completed in 2016. Color Blind, on the other hand, is very much a work in progress. Nevertheless, the early drafts are further evidence of Safdie's acute awareness of the tensions and contradictions that underlie architectural culture and production, and the ability of these to yield highly theatrical—and sometimes excruciatingly uncomfortable—moments. The play invites its audience into the usually sealed-off space where critical decisions about architecture are made. There, we are introduced to six fictional jurors who will decide the shape of the first institution dedicated to African-American history on Washington's National Mall. This motley crew is composed of a diverse set of players whose exchanges hover between guarded diplomacy, heartfelt confessions, and downright acrimony. The imagined jury includes the future museum director and his assistant, both of whom are black. The former is the staid elder statesman, the latter, a fiery and plainspoken woman who speaks her mind. Also present is the museum's Korean-American treasurer, who is meek and wise. Rounding out the committee is a highly neurotic community organizer (Jewish), as well as a pedantic architecture critic, and a folksy but established starchitect (both of whom are white). The racial and ethnic backgrounds of the characters are worth noting because they foreground the competing experiences and prejudices that contextualize each juror's vision for the museum. In this sense, Color Blind is aligned with Private Jokes, Public Spaces, and The Bilbao Effect; all three recognize architecture as not just a silent protagonist, but as a dramatic vehicle for exposing broader contradictions and conflicts embedded in architecture—some, occasionally, not too deep below the surface. Color Blind relies heavily on popular stereotypes about race and ethnicity—and the conflicts these imply—to drive its plot forward. As such, scattered throughout the jury's deliberations over the six finalist museum proposals are somewhat formulaic monologues: an emotional harangue on the experience of being a single mother on welfare (black assistant to the director); a frenzied, confessional tirade riddled with liberal guilt (Jewish community organizer); and a demure complaint—in broken English—about the perils of over-achievement (Korean-American treasurer). These cliches render Color Blind's dramatic trajectory for the most part predictable, and Safdie's later drafts would certainly be helped by the addition of nuance and moments of surprise. Still, the play's overall agenda deserves our attention. In a profession that maintains a track record on inclusivity that is shameful—about 2 percent of registered architects in the U.S. are black—and in a nation where xenophobic and racist hostility in both discourse and action appear at alarming levels, the play's vision is both timely and telling. With Color Blind, Safdie's desire to lift the veil that renders the process of architectural production bewildering to outsiders, and his portrait of the conflicts that lie just beneath the veil's surface could, in the end, do more than give credence to the dramatic possibilities latent in architecture. When finished, the new play has the potential to instigate a critical dialogue about uncomfortable issues that extend far beyond architecture but are undeniably relevant to the field. Mustafa Faruki was the 2018-2019 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. He is the founder of theLab-lab for architecture. Color Blind was presented by undergraduate students at the school in a live reading. The event was followed by an informal discussion with Safdie and was held in connection with The Whiteness of American Architecture, a day-long symposium examining the racial discourses underlying "American Architecture" movements from independence up to the first decades of the 20th century. Color Blind has been selected as a finalist in the Kernodle Playwriting Competition at the University of Arkansas and will be presented again in a staged reading by the Architecture Foundation in London this fall.
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Safdie Architects completes world's largest indoor waterfall
After six years, the first phase of Safdie Architects’ monumental Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore will open to the public on April 17. That not only includes an indoor “rain forest” with walking trails, but also the world’s largest indoor waterfall. The 1.4-million-square-foot doughnut-shaped building is a greenhouse ensconced within a steel diagrid frame engineered by BuroHappold. The five-story toroid stretches another five levels underground as well and is designed to connect the Changi Airport’s terminals 1, 2, and 3, and to public transit. Jewel was conceived of as an amenity hub for the airport and contains over 280 retail stores, galleries, and restaurants, a 130-room hotel, and operations space for the airport, including a lounge and check-in area. To mitigate the noise from the aircraft taking off around it, the triangular window sections were installed with a .6-inch-thick air gap between the two glass panes. Jewel's crowning feature is its seven-story indoor waterfall, the “Rain Vortex,” which dramatically pours down from a central oculus and into a circular catch below. The waterfall is, appropriately enough, fed by water collected during Singapore’s constant thunderstorms, and the recirculated rainwater diffuses throughout the Jewel to passively cool the interior. All of that humidity also helps maintain the thousands of plants, including 2,000 trees, found within. Other than the Forest Valley, which includes terraced vegetation and “forest walks” around the waterfall, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park on the fifth floor further enhances then garden feel. Glass bottomed bridges, topiary mazes, sky nets (suspended net paths), mirrored “discovery slides” that will open on June 10, and a gathering space for up to 1,000 guests can all be found on the Jewel’s top floor. Such an enormous undertaking was a collaborative effort, and Safdie led a multidisciplinary group of designers and engineers. Atelier Ten was responsible for the building’s climate control systems; Singapore’s RSP Architects Planners & Engineers was the project’s executive architect; the Berkeley, California-based Peter Walker and Partners was responsible for the landscape design and plant selection; and Los Angeles’s WET engineered the Rain Vortex and developed a 360-degree light and sound show to play against the waterfall at night.
A strange thing has been happening at some public architecture talks lately, perhaps you’ve noticed. Over the course of otherwise hopeful and positive discussions covering amazing new projects from around the globe, at some point, usually toward the end of a talk, conversation turns to the current state of American building and infrastructure. And, it's safe to say, people are not happy. Sometimes, the presenter will rip off the bandaid, as Thom Mayne of Morphosis did at a recent Facades+ talk in Los Angeles, when he said, “I hate to be negative, but there’s not much going on in this country architecturally,” before adding, “[But] if you look at architecture around the world, it’s startling…It’s unbelievable, the research [taking place]—I just came back from Shenzhen [China] and I’m looking around [at the skyline] there wondering ‘is there anything left for me to do?’” Other times, a perplexed-sounding audience member will ask what it seems many in attendance had been pondering privately: “Why can’t we build like this here?” It’s a debilitating question that really only has one answer. And although, even when speaking bluntly, everyone tries their best to truth-tell without offending, but the writing is right on the projection screen—building big in America simply isn’t what it used to be, and we don’t know what to do about it. “The United States is falling behind,” architect Moshe Safdie explained to a packed room during a recent keynote talk at Palm Springs Modernism Week when asked why the inventive array of projects he had just presented are mostly located outside the United States. “Around the world, the competition [for bold infrastructure] doesn’t stop,” he said, half-jokingly, “until you land at Kennedy or LAX.” To prove his point, Safdie pointed out further that although the Hudson Yards development in New York City is the largest privately-led construction project in the country by square footage, it is easily dwarfed in terms of vision by countless projects around the globe of a similar or larger size. He’s right. Hudson Yards is a dime a dozen as far as global mega-projects are concerned. Safdie’s own Raffles City development in Chongqing, China, for example, might be roughly two-thirds the size of Hudson Yards, but it is going up in less than one-third the time and is almost entirely designed by a single architecture firm—Safdie Architects—with P&T Group International Ltd. serving as architect of record. Safdie’s own portfolio of recent work shows that while New York occasionally will build an elevated billionaire citadel, Chongqing, Singapore, and other cities have tasked his office with erecting bold new structures designed for working people and the public at large, all without sacrificing design quality. Safdie explained that one possible reason why American projects no longer lead the world in terms of size or scale might be due to a “lack of urban initiative,” the type of sustained and calculated political and managerial energy necessary for bringing to life the types of large-scale and lasting projects that have transformed other countries around the world in recent decades. It’s a sentiment echoed by Rem Koolhaas, who, when recently asked about the prevalence of NIMBYism in America, explained, “I think you can divide the world into one part that is eager to change and doesn’t have hesitations about things changing, and another part that is totally nervous about change and actually aspires to a kind of stability.” Koolhaas added, “As an architect, every one of your efforts is impacted by this. In the end, however, architecture is always controversial because it proposes to make things different than they are.” Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the realm of high-speed rail (HSR), where American decision makers across all levels of government have persisted in remaining tethered to auto-centric planning, condemning the nation to antiquated transportation for at least another generation. A recent article in The New York Times covering the ongoing debacle with California’s tragic HSR project, for example, brings this condition into sharp relief with the following line: “California’s High-Speed Rail Authority…was established 23 years ago. During that time China has built 16,000 miles of high-speed rail.” America has built none. But America’s last-place finish doesn’t end with rail or with deteriorating airports; it includes city-building, too, as Safdie pointed out. Much of America is suffering from some form of housing crisis, whether it’s so-called Rust Belt cities struggling to retain residents or coastal cities that can’t figure out how and where to build new housing fast enough. While American cities have doubled-down on onerous building restrictions and lengthy bureaucratic reviews, politically polarized state and federal governments have worked at cross purposes, too, failing to enact bold plans and avoiding future-oriented thinking at almost all costs. The overarching legacy of redlining, racial segregation, and income inequality has placed a stranglehold over American cities, as well, contributing to intense gentrification when development does occur and debilitating displacement when it doesn’t. Over the last decade, it has become clear that America's public health, land-use, and transportation policies are all woefully out of whack, and the result is stifling the abilities of a generation of well-trained architects and engineers eager to build a better nation. Meanwhile, the world’s urbanizing areas have embraced building vertically, have expanded transit of all sorts, and have worked to enact bold planning initiatives that over a generation have remade the face of global urbanism in the name of interconnectedness, density, and place-making. In Europe, for example, France is currently enacting its “Le Grand Paris” plan, a vision that will stitch together the Paris city center with its inner and outer ring suburbs to bring together an urban region of 10 million inhabitants. The plan includes a €30 billion public transit expansion initiative that will create a network of regional transit routes connecting suburbs with one another as well as sizable new investments in social housing, parks, and other equity-minded initiatives. But it’s not just Europe. Cairo, Egypt, is building a new $45 billion capital city that, when completed, will become the largest purpose-built capital city by population in the world. In India, the country’s largest infrastructure project, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, aims to connect the nation’s political and economic capitals with a 900-mile long conurbation made up of 24 urban “nodes.” The plan aims to urbanize 14 percent of India’s population—180 million people—over the next 30 years and will take $100 billion in investment to realize. In South America, Argentina’s so-called Belgrano Plan will bring $16 billion in rail expansion to 10 of the country’s neglected northern provinces and will create up to 250,000 new housing units and 1,100 childhood education centers. Saudi Arabia is building new mega cities from scratch, as are China, Singapore, Nigeria, Mauritius, and countless others. None of these projects are perfect socially or environmentally-speaking, to be sure, but one thing they do not lack is vision. If it feels like the most impressive work is taking place in other countries, that’s because in many ways, it is, and international architects know perhaps better than anyone else the truth of that reality. Even more, the hesitation, hedging, and hand-wringing that accompanies talk of the current state of American infrastructure and urban vision indicate that the problem runs deeper than a mere lack of funding or risk-averse clients. Whether it’s California’s flailing HSR project, the nation’s intractable housing crises, or even, the sad, dispirited political discourse surrounding the Green New Deal—a potentially transformative plan that is barely supported by the party that conceived it—it is clear that America has a crisis of vision, a failure of political will, and perhaps most alarmingly, no real interest in solving its own problems. Look at the Salesforce Transit Center debacle in San Francisco, Elon Musk’s substandard and retrograde transit ideas in Los Angeles and Chicago, and the steady stream of failing bridges and tunnels across the country for further proof. Even Amazon’s HQ2 extravaganza, a year-long publicity stunt by the world’s richest company that wrung billions in incentives from some of the most desperate cities around the country, rightfully withered on the vine. What’s going on here? As Safdie quipped, “We were promised infrastructure!” But the truth is that it’s just not happening in America anymore.
Winning the Wolf
Moshe Safdie wins the 2019 Wolf Prize for Architecture
Moshe Safdie has won the 2019 Wolf Prize for Architecture, an award given out about every three years by the Wolf Foundation. The Israeli nonprofit gives out six prizes annually for agriculture, arts, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, and physics. The arts award recognizes a winner in either painting, music, sculpture, or architecture. Recent winners for architecture include Phyllis Lambert, Eduardo Souto de Moura, David Chipperfield, and Peter Eisenman. The award citation praised Safdie's "career motivated by the social concerns of architecture and formal experimentation," and recognized Montreal's Habitat '67 along with "the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Harvard Rosovsky Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas, the National Library of Israel and the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem." Much of the Safdie Architects' current work comprises large-scale residential towers that formally echo Habitat's modularity on a much larger scale. Winners of Wolf Prizes receive $100,000.
Safdie in the High Desert
Moshe Safdie to give keynote lecture at 2019 Modernism Week
Moshe Safdie, the global architect behind iconic projects such as the Habitat 67 prefabricated housing complex in Montreal and many others, will be giving a keynote presentation at the 2019 Modernism Week symposium in Palm Springs, California. Safdie’s over-50-year-long career began at the age of 26 when he was commissioned to build a version of a McGill University thesis project in Montreal. Built in conjunction with the city’s Expo 67 world's fair, the 146-unit garden apartment complex envisioned a way of melding suburban and urban housing typologies that catapulted the architect onto the world stage. Safdie Architects has realized over 75 buildings in the years since, including the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore that is made up of three 55-story towers topped by a massive elevated park. Safdie is also responsible for Sky Habitat Singapore, a dramatic 590-unit condominium complex organized as a pair of stepped and interlinked towers studded with projecting balconies. Safdie’s office is set to complete three key projects this year, including the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore, the Altair Residences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the massive mixed-use project Raffles City Chongqing in Chongqing, China. For the latter project, the architect has designed a series of six tapered towers that rise up to 1,450 feet in height and are connected by a 1/4-mile-long conservatory raised more than 800 feet off the ground. Safdie’s keynote lecture in Palm Springs is scheduled for February 16 at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum. For more information on the lecture, see the event page here.
Pompidou and Circumstance
Richard Rogers wins the 2019 AIA Gold Medal
Lord Richard Rogers, honorary FAIA, has been awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2019 Gold Medal, the highest honor the institution offers. In recognizing the English architect's storied career, which spans more than 50 years, the AIA singled out Rogers’s Centre Pompidou in Paris (a collaboration with Renzo Piano), whose massive popularity kickstarted the high-tech style. The cultural complex was praised for its functional transparency and rejection of monumentality, hallmarks of Rogers’s that the AIA notes continued throughout his career. Rogers’s continued commitment to solving social, urban, and environmental issues through design, and his political activism were also praised. His continued impact on the skyline of London and New York, and approach to human-oriented urbanism, were singled out by the jury in particular as well. “He is the quintessential builder, committed to mastering the craft and technology of construction, harnessing it towards efficient buildings, and forging an expressive architectural language,” wrote Moshe Safdie, in a show of support for Rogers’s nomination. “Before it was fashionable, he was an environmentalist, who recognized early in his career the challenges of energy and climate, developing innovative solutions.” “Richard Rogers is a friend, a companion of adventures and life,” wrote Piano, who also supported Rogers’s nomination. “He also happens to be a great architect, and much more than that. He is a planner attracted by the complexity of cities and the fragility of earth; a humanist curious about everything (from art to music, people, communities, and food); an inexhaustible explorer of the world. And there is one more thing he could be: a poet.” Rogers has seen his fair share of awards, including the 2007 Pritzker, a RIBA Gold Medal in 1985, and a RIBA Stirling prize in both 2006 and 2009. The AIA jury was composed of the following members: Kelly M. Hayes-McAlonie, FAIA, Chair, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York Dan Hart, FAIA, Parkhill Smith & Cooper, Inc., Midland, Texas Lori Krejci, AIA, Avant Architects, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska Dr. Pamela R. Moran, Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlottesville, Virginia Antoine Predock, FAIA, Antoine Predock Architects, Albuquerque, New Mexico David B. Richards, FAIA, Rossetti, Detroit, Michigan Emily A. Roush-Elliott, AIA, Delta DB, Greenwood, Mississippi Rafael Viñoly, AIA, LMN Architects, Seattle, Washington
Brutalism at its Best
Moshe Safdie's personal Habitat 67 unit gets upgraded and restored
Safdie Architects has officially completed a two-year-long restoration of Moshe Safdie’s personal unit at Habitat 67, a landmark apartment complex designed by a young Safdie himself for Montreal. The project was done in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the seminal structure. Safdie’s light-filled duplex unit is located on the 10th floor of the 238,500-square-foot brutalist building and overlooks the Saint Lawrence River and downtown Montreal. The careful restoration of the prefabricated piece of architecture has been a serious undertaking. Safdie Architects worked to bring the entire facility into the 21st century by upgrading its technical systems to modern sustainability and energy conservation standards. They also stripped the exterior concrete walls that showed severe signs of decades-long water damage in order to repair, insulate, and waterproof the envelope from the harsh Canadian winters. For the interior of Safdie’s apartment, the design team restored the space to its original 1960s condition. They repaired the wood parquet flooring, installed new windows, and restored the sliding patio doors that retract into the concrete walls. The wood-slatted terraces were revamped to include the clear polycarbonate railings found on the original structure. The bathrooms, outfitted with molded fiber glasses, were also rehabilitated, along with the fixtures and fittings. The kitchen was completely restored as well. Now in mint condition, the unit will be dedicated to the public realm as a resource for research and tours as Safdie Architects continues an ongoing restoration of the building’s envelope.
A fascinating and thoroughly researched book, Space Packed: The Architecture of Alfred Neumann, by Rafi Segal (2018, Park Books) investigates the rise and fall of Alfred Neumann, Israel’s perhaps most major, and yet still unknown, architect. In addition to providing a compelling biography, Segal makes the claim for Neumann’s unique significance and demonstrates how his work captured important conversations and conflicts in Israeli architecture of the 1950s and ’60s; Neumann's work was a cipher for debates about the future of architecture in the new state. Lavishly illustrated with drawings and photographs and concluded by an appendix that contains Neumann’s own writings, Space Packed convincingly asserts that this man at the margins was ahead of the times. Alfred Neumann was born in 1900, trained with Peter Behrens and Auguste Perret, survived World War II as an inmate at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and then emigrated to Israel in 1949, a year after the state was founded. He became dean of Haifa’s prestigious Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and, in 1956, published the first part of a theory that would inform his work for decades: a pamphlet that called for architecture’s reform through a new, humanizing system of proportion to determine a better measurement unit. Buildings were to be seen not as singular large forms, but as an aggregate assembly of smaller, repeated, and interconnected units that could render them more humane. Beginning with his astonishing Bat Yam City Hall, and through the fabulous seaside holiday villages for Club Méditerranée and Kiryat Yam, Neumann became known for buildings with complex interfaces between interior and exterior. Space packing came to be understood as a mode of making architecture—in her obituary, Ada Louise Huxtable called him the father of the movement—structured on polyhedral forms that could be “packed” for maximum spatial efficiency. The polyhedral and non-orthogonal geometries these ideas produced were impressive in their capacity to relate to local conditions of climate, light, and topography. Bold colors were an important element of Neumann’s work and were used as a way to interpret programmatic space. Pattern and repetition were paramount in space packing. Neumann’s architecture had a major impact in its time and is still alluring today. Zvi Hecker joined Neumann’s studio in 1952 and became a close collaborator for life. Moshe Safdie spoke of the affinity he felt with Neumann’s work, and, for Neumann’s obituary in 1968, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui gave him an entire page alongside Walter Gropius’s full-page announcement. During their lifetimes, Gropius said of Neumann that he had developed the only meaningful system of human proportion except for Le Corbusier. The history of Israeli architecture writ large is a history of dynasties—the Rechters and Sharons among them—to which Neumann, a minor architect, did not belong. For the last two years of his life, Neumann lived in something of an exile in Canada, where he founded the architecture department at the University of Laval in Quebec City. Caught in controversy around his Danciger Building (1963–66), as well as Israeli architecture’s tilt toward historicist postmodernism after the Six-Day War, Neumann no longer had his finger on the pulse of the country’s architecture scene. He was buried in 1968—as a Christian in a Catholic cemetery in Quebec City—per his request.
Peaks and Valleys
BIG's undulating homage to Habitat 67 wins approval in Toronto
Only a few days after BIG’s snaking Serpentine Pavilion was fully installed in Toronto, King Street West, the stacked housing development sited directly behind the pavilion, received official approval and is set to begin sales shortly. The full-block King Street West, developed by BIG’s frequent Canadian collaborators Westbank (also the owner of the aforementioned pavilion), was reportedly inspired in both form and spirit by Moshe Safdie’s experimental Habitat 67 in Montreal. Similar to the adjacent pavilion, the 750,000-square-foot project will rise in stepped, stacked boxes and invoke a pixelated effect—an effect that extends even to the cladding, thanks to the glass bricks that will be used for the facade. Each concrete cube has been extruded and set back to terrace space and open up lighting for residents, as well as give each unit its own unique identity. Much like Habitat 67 or BIG’s own “self-contained neighborhood," the 8 House in Copenhagen, the aim was to lend each unit the feeling of being its own standalone home. "With King Street West, we wanted to find an alternative to the tower and podium you see a lot of in Toronto and revisit some of Safdie's revolutionary ideas,” said Bjarke Ingels in a press release, “but rather than a utopian experiment on an island, have it nested into the heart of the city. It would be strange if one of the most diverse cities in the world had the most homogenous architecture." King Street West will incorporate the site’s existing century-old brick buildings and convert them into a mix of office and retail space. The peaks-and-valleys approach BIG took to the development’s massing extends to the underside, as the building rises like the entrance to a cavern at the bottom, opening up to what BIG has described as a “maze-like” courtyard within. The “mountainous” portions of the project will frame the interior landscaping at ground-level, which comes courtesy of the Toronto-based landscape architects Public Work. The project had been under consideration by the Toronto city government for the last two-and-a-half years, as the King West neighborhood is the meeting point of Toronto’s downtown skyscrapers and shorter brick buildings. Several converted factories and warehouses sit on the same block as King Street West, and the development was approved only after BIG was able to scale its “village” down to a contextual size. No estimated completion date for King Street West has been announced yet.
Call the Mirror Universe
LinkNYC brings never-built megaprojects to the streets of New York
New Yorkers can catch a glimpse of a parallel universe this summer. LinkNYC, the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, AN contributor Sam Lubell, writer Greg Goldin, and publisher Metropolis Books have teamed up to bring images from Never Built New York to the city' streets via LinkNYC kiosks. The display of unbuilt megaprojects from some of the biggest names in architecture follows the release of the Never Built New York book in 2016, and the accompanying show at the Queens Museum last fall. The kiosks won't display the full array of weird and wild never-realized projects, but the curated images will still depict how New York could have grown into a very different city. Some of the work on display includes I.M. Pei’s proposal for the Hyperboloid, a 102-story tower proposed in 1954 that would have replaced Grand Central, and Robert Moses’s heavily contested Mid-Manhattan Expressway. Images of the Dodger Dome, an enclosed stadium designed by Buckminster Fuller meant to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and Moshe Safdie’s tessellating Habitat New York (originally slated for the Upper East Side) have also been selected. LinkNYC will display images of each project on kiosks close to the location where they would have risen. LinkNYC’s 1,650 kiosks can be found all over the city following the program’s launch in 2016. The Never Built New York 'exhibition' follows a June show that presented historical New York City photos from the Museum of the City of New York’s ongoing Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs exhibition.
Spice of Life
Odile Decq speaks about her work and being a women architect in new Time Space Existence video
https://vimeo.com/270657493 The Time Space Existence exhibition presented by the European Cultural Center has returned to the Venice Biennale for the fourth time. For this iteration, the European Cultural Center worked with PLANE—SITE, the GAA Foundation and the ECC to launch a new series of videos spotlighting some of the pavilion’s most prominent participating architects. In the final video of the series, French architect Odile Decq frankly discusses her willingness to not be “nice,” the importance of taking a position, and being a woman in a still male-dominated field. In the brief video, Decq lays out her fascination with speed—and how that manifests in her architecture. “You can build a story with your movement, your displacement into the space,” she says of her design approach. This, according to Decq, lends a “spice” to her spaces. “I’m sure my buildings are spicy. They are not convenient for everybody.” Not just antagonistic for antagonism’s stake, she discusses how she encourages her students to take a position and the hope she has for younger generations to reinvent the world. After all, “architecture is still a fight.” This video is the last in a series that has featured the likes of Moshe Safdie, Tatiana Bilbao, and Fumihiko Maki. At Time Space Existence in Venice, Decq presented an installation and exhibition with an interactive centerpiece. The exhibition offered a sneak peek of her first large-scale residential development and first building in Barcelona, called Antares. She was also front and center in a women-led public action on May 25th at the Biennale that called for more gender equity in the field.
As the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale gets ready to welcome visitors, AN has compiled a list of the 65 national pavilions that will open to the public on Thursday, May 24. Although two countries have canceled their pavilions, the remaining projects are all an interesting take on the biennale's theme of “freespace”; how we use, negate, and integrate open spaces into our daily lives. This year’s Biennale will also mark the first show for these six countries. Each of the pavilions mentioned below have been represented in their teams’ own words. National Pavilion Events: Albania: Zero Space Location: Arsenale “This pavilion is composed of architects and artists, devoted to the dynamism of everyday life in the ground floors of Tirana, the capital city of Albania. It is a moment of reflection of Tirana's lifestyle and the future of Albania's capital city. Visitors live through the experience of Albania's capital city the same way as its citizens.” Antigua & Barbuda Environmental Justice as a Civil Right Location: Don Orione Artigianelli, Dorsoduro 919 Argentina Vértigo Horizontal Location: Arsenale “Proposes a cross-cutting dialog between geographical spaces, places and architecture. It is an invitation to rethink our territory as a collective construction and see architecture in its capacity to convey unexpected generosity in every project. The collection focus on projects produced since Argentina’s return to democracy, in 1983.” Australia Repair Location: Giardini “Repair addresses the call ‘to stimulate discussion on core architectural values’ and focuses on architecture that integrates built and natural systems to effect repair of the environment through three installation: the first is made of ten thousand plants inside and outside of the Pavilion, including 65 species of Western Plains Grasslands. This component of the exhibition, entitled Grasslands Repair, will serve as a reminder of what is at stake when we occupy land – just one per cent of these threatened species are left in their native ecosystem; an experimental video series, entitled Ground, showcasing fifteen Australian projects that unpack diverse iterations of repair, which will be projected inside the Pavilion. A third installation, Skylight, incorporates lighting to simulate the sun’s energy required to sustain the plants inside the Pavilion. The curators aim to provoke a rethinking of how we value and therefore create the built environment.” Austria Thoughts Form Matter Location: Giardini “Is a plea for the power of architecture as an intellectual analysis of the world and for the freedom to design spaces that are not subject to functional and economic constraints. LAAC, Henke Schreieck and Sagmeister & Walsh are creating a conceptually and materially complex spatial installation which draws together inside and outside, vertical and horizontal, the historic pavilion and the language of contemporary architecture and design. Concepts such as ‘deviation’, ‘atmosphere’ and ‘beauty’ become tangible in a three-part, converging spatial installation.” Bahrain (Kingdom of) Friday Sermon Location: Arsenale Artiglierie “The pavilions curatorial team is composed of Nora Akawi, an architect and researcher based in New York, USA and Amman, Jordan and Noura Al Sayeh an architect based in Bahrain. The pavilion features an installation and research on the ritual of the Friday Sermon and its influence on public space and public opinion. When thinking about free space, and by extension free speech for Arab and Muslim communities, the Friday khuṭbah becomes a key protagonist, especially as state, law, and religion remain as entangled as ever.” Belgium Eurotopie Location: Giardini “Eurotopie, addresses the issues and challenges tackled by the European Union. Despite being the E.U’s principal territorial, physical and symbolic anchorage, the European Quarter in Brussels seems in no way to contribute to a collective European identity. The pavilion also addresses architects and space-makers in considering how the European democratic space can be constructed, and how it can cohabit with Brussels.” Brazil Walls of Air Location: Giardini “Investigates the wall as an element of Brazilian architecture, culture and identity, and envisage in the act of bridging this wall an invitation to coexistence and multiplicity on two design fronts. The first consists of the presentation of ten cartographic designs created based on research with a network of collaborators, consultants and institutions, as a way of visualising the forms of spatial and conceptual separation resulting from the process of urbanisation of Brazil. The second, in an initiative unprecedented in the history of Brazilian participation in the event, focuses on projects chosen through a public selection process. Projects are examples that use architecture as a tool to measure conflict, transitions between public and private domains and connections between different urban fabrics.” Canada Voices of the Land Location: Giardini “On the occasion of the unveiling of a state-of-the-art restoration of the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini, and the celebration of the pavilion’s 60th anniversary, the National Gallery of Canada promotes the exhibition: Canada Builds/Rebuilds a Pavilion in Venice.” Chile Stadium: an event, a building and a city Location: Arsenale “An event of the past, which rendered a city within a building. In its origin, the word stadium is a measure of a running distance between two points. The exhibition narrates such double story interweaved by a plan: that of a building (with its dissimilar uses) and that of a city (with its atomized housing development), overlaid in a single event. The Event – On the 29th of September 1979, this landmark building was filled by 37,000 workers from all over Santiago. The focus of this gathering was not a concert or a sport match, but a massive operative which provided, in a single day, ownership titles to dwellers (pobladores) fixing decades of makeshift land occupation and policies. This day-long massive event organised by the military regime was a day of celebration, of government propaganda and reinforcement of a new popular capitalist scheme. By signing these property titles these former dwellers were also acquiring a debt instrument with specific spatial coordinates, setting a plan of a city where there was no plan” China (People’s Republic of) Building a Future Countryside Location: Arsenale “One of the major challenges facing contemporary built environments is the future of rural ‘development’. In China, the countryside has become a new frontier for experiments in this area, and the country is developing its countryside at a speed and scale unseen in the West. Drawn by the promise of boundless opportunity, architects, artists, developers—as well as capital flow—are converging in rural areas across the nation. The return to pastoral life has long been an ideal of Chinese literary tradition. In modern times, living in rural areas typically involves aspects such as policy, capital, infrastructure, and technology. While modernization and technological progress promise us better lives with modern living conditions, they also, to some extent, sever the link between rural life and tradition.” Croatia Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality Location: Arsenale “Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality is a collaborative site-specific environment conceived by the pavilion curator, Bruno Juričić, with curatorial advice from Branka Benčić. Cloud Pergola is an installation crossing the boundaries of architecture, art, engineering, robotic fabrication and computational models. The exhibition is structured through the interplay of three interventions: Cloud Drawing by Alisa Andrašek in collaboration with Bruno Juričić, To Still the Eyes by Vlatka Horvat and Ephemeral Garden by Maja Kuzmanović & FoAM.” Cyprus (Republic of) I Am Where You Are Location: Associazione Culturale Spiazzi, Castello 3865 “By highlighting, questioning and then deconstructing sets of binaries, key to cultural perceptions in and about Cyprus, the pavilion disengages from convention. Multiplicities, found in-between these binaries, ‘built/unbuilt, tradition/modernity, Island of Love/place of conflict, immigration/local identity,’ are revealed in the pavilion, allowing unexpected experiences to be celebrated.” Czech and Slovak (Republic) Meetings on Architecture Location: Giardini “A program of encounters It's nothing new under the sun, yet it's necessary to talk about it. Beautiful historical towns, of course not only in the Czech Republic, suffer under the heavy burden of tourists. And the local people suffer also. In the streets of such cities we see empty houses, unnecessary shops, streets people prefer to avoid – just like in socially excluded localities. One such city in our country is Český Krumlov, an example from abroad is Venice. Both cities are among the magnificent treasures included on the UNESCO list, but the only ones who really desire them are the tourists. Tourism is growing into dangerous dimensions." Denmark Collaborative innovations Location: Giardini “The Danish Pavilion exhibition will present a collaborative approach to innovation and illustrate its impact through a handful of very different cases. The cases look at the potentials of working with a number of fields outside the traditional realm of architecture, such as mobility, cultural resilience, housing and computational resource efficiency on a global level. Each of the cases branch multiple fields of knowledge and numerous stakeholders and demonstrates the transformative potential of collaborative efforts as well as architecture’s impact on innovating the built environment. Through large scale installations, including a presentation of the new OMA BLOX building in Copenhagen, the exhibition focuses on ’Collaborative Innovations’. BLOX, represents a framework for the exhibition since it embodies the idea of a freespace for interdisciplinary and cross-cultural innovation. BLOX is the new home of the Danish Architecture Centre and a new international innovation hub.” Egypt The phenomenon of “free” Location: Giardini “The pavilion, curated by architects Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, architecture professor Cristiano Luchetti, art director and producer Giuseppe Moscatello, and art director Karim Moussa proposes the theme of a redevelopment of spontaneous commercial spaces across the entire country. The phenomenon of ‘free’, unstructured, often illegal, trading is predominant in many urban and suburban areas. The traditional souk is no longer confined to narrow streets and interstitial spaces of historical areas. Indeed, the space of commerce extends its tentacles seamlessly along the lines of urban streams without any rule. The project for the pavilion focuses on these strategic spaces but also on their content. The trading of ‘roba becciah’ is a large portion of all market activities. Disused items produced and dismissed by consumerist societies are first collected and then stacked in areas to create mono-functional enclaves for future trading.” Estonia Weak Monument Location: Santa Maria Ausiliatrice church “Weak Monument explores the explicit representation of the monument and the implicit politics of everyday architectural forms. Curated by Laura Linsi, Roland Reemaa and Tadeáš Říha, the exhibition takes over the former Santa Maria Ausiliatrice church in Venice with pavement and a monument-like concrete wall that divides the exhibition space in two. As visitors cross through the wall, they'll find a collection of photos, drawings, and models of Estonian and European examples of “weak monuments”. They will then encounter a ‘wall altar.’” Finland Mind-Building Location: Giardini “The Finnish pavilion transforms the Alvar Aalto-designed space into a temporary library. Titled ‘Mind-Building’, the exhibition explores the development of Finnish library architecture and showcases Finland’s leading role in developing the libraries of the future. The exhibition is conceived by the commissioner Hanna Harris, director of Archinfo Finland, and curator Dr Anni Vartola, architecture critic and architectural theorist, who present the public library as a case-study of ‘modern monumentality’ and reminds us of the values of the civic society and the power of education and knowledge.” France Infinite Places Location: Giardini “This year, in its 16th edition, the International Architecture Exhibition seeks to remind us of a dimension of architecture no doubt somewhat neglected, and yet so fundamental: ‘thoughtfulness.” Our concerns focus so often on the built object, or one intended to be built, that we often underestimate the importance of this frame of mind that goes beyond needs or the desires of others. Freespace needs to be a place of opportunities, a democratic space, un-programmed and open to unforeseen uses, as yet undefined, such that buildings create new ways of sharing and participating for people over time, long after the architect has left the scene… places that are in some sense infinite in possibility.” Germany Unbuilding Walls Location: Gardini “The exhibition responds to current debates on nations, protectionism and division. In the German Pavilion, GRAFT and Marianne Birthler will take the parallel as an opportunity to explore the effects of division and the process of healing as a, special focus will be given to outstanding examples of urban and architectural design that address aspects of division and integration. An example project is Checkpoint Charlie. This Location: was the third crossing point after Checkpoint Alpha and Checkpoint Bravo between the American and Soviet sectors. After the construction of the Wall and the tank confrontation shortly afterwards in October 1961, it became, alongside the Brandenburg Gate, the most symbolically potent image of the Cold War. A current competition initiated by the new owner of the site will elaborate a new vision for the Location: of Checkpoint Charlie in conjunction with the Senate. A Museum of the Cold War is planned that will be run by the State of Berlin.” Greenland Greenland's magnificent nature “Danish architect Dorte Mandrup will be exhibiting at the main exhibition of the Biennale Architettura 2018, and with over 200 square metres at her disposal, is one of the most comprehensive installations on display at this year's Architecture Biennale. The forthcoming Icefjord Centre in Greenland is the inspiration source behind a large sensuous exhibition, designed to give Biennale's visitors an authentic experience of the magnificent and harsh nature in Greenland.” Holland Work, Body, Leisure Location: Giardini Bed-In Interviews With Beatriz Colomina #BED, DUTCH PAVILION, GIARDINI DELLA BIENNALE, VENEZIA 11am – 4pm Visions of the Future With Mark Wigley, Liam Young, and respondent Amal Alhaag #LOCKER ROOM, DUTCH PAVILION, GIARDINI DELLA BIENNALE, VENEZIA 11am – 12pm Work Body Leisure | Official Opening WELCOMING WORDS 4pm – 4:30pm SONGS FOR HARD-WORKING PEOPLE A project by Noam Toran, composed and performed by Remco de Jong and Florentijn Boddendijk. This afternoon concert launches the official soundtrack of the 2018 Dutch Pavilion. 4:30pm – 5pm Great Britain Island Location: Giardini “The curatorial team, Caruso St John Architects working in collaboration with artist Marcus Taylor, responds to the theme of Freespace with the construction of a new public space on the roof of the British Pavilion. This elevated piazza offers visitors to the Giardini a place to meet and a unique vantage point looking out across the Lagoon. At the centre of this new public space, the peak of the Pavilion’s roof protrudes up through the floor, suggesting both an island and a sunken world beneath. Below, the doors of the Pavilion are open to visitors, but the building is empty of exhibits.” Greece Utopian Visions of Learning Location: Giardini “‘The Faculty of Athens,’ will focus on the structure of the educational commons – from Plato’s Academy to recent college designs. It re-imagines the Greek Pavilion adopts the architectural trope of the stepped panorama to create an energetic house of discussion and trade. Inside of this panorama, architectural fashions depicting instructional commonplace areas from throughout historical past and all over the world, each learned and unrealized, will create a box of architectural specimens that fills the pavilion in all instructions.” Guatemala Stigma Location: Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, 4118 Cannaregio “The Guatemala pavilion investigates space with models all linked to a sense of utopia and lexical incompleteness, that reflect and try to give an answer to the language crisis brought by the postmodern age. The exhibition proposes a sort of ‘Virtual City,’ understood as the articulation of urban systems designed according to new modes of collective intelligence.” Hungary Liberty Bridge – New Urban Horizons Location: Giardini “In 2016, one of the oldest Danube-bridges of Budapest, the Liberty Bridge became car-free due to an infrastructural development in the neighborhood. Citizens, mostly millennials immediately put the road and tram tracks to creative use and re-imagined the historic place. The construction turned into street furniture, hosting picnics, grill-parties, yoga classes. The curators choose this episode to tackle fundamental issues of urban development: What does a free public space represent today? How can a bridge or any built structure act as a medium of freedom? How can we change our own identity by transforming our city?” Indonesia Sunyata: The Poetics of Emptiness Location: Arsenale “Here emptiness is meant as an active entity; a singularity that functions as a prominent agency in life and at the same time, as a void which demands to be conquered. This conquest expresses in various ritualization. Emptiness is a concept strongly rooted in Indonesian’s Architecture. This project argues that the concept of Emptiness that has been practice in Indonesia is the approach to liberate spatial experience and tactility.” Ireland The Free Market Location: Asenale “The Irish Pavilion is centered around the theme of the Free Market. The exhibition will explore the common space of market towns in Ireland, their gradual demise and importance for economic and social engagement. The pavilion will be transformed into a rural Irish market square, complete with market stalls, goods, soundscape and a daily newspaper.” Israel In Status Quo: Structures of Negotiation Location: Giardini “Through the lens of architecture, the exhibition explores the status quo mechanism that was established in the 19th century to regulate conflicts and facilitate co-existence in the Holy places. In the exhibition, visitors move through five holy sites that highlight Israel’s fragile system of cohabitation and disputed territoriality. Each holy site raises different phenomenon and their highly uncertain territorial claims over centuries has made them some of the most significant and challenging sites to reexamine within this context. The Israeli Pavilion team chose 10 of the most captivating architectural proposals of the Western Wall plaza over time, including those by Louis Kahn, Isamu Noguchi, Moshe Safdie and Superstudio. For each plan, the team created custom-made, 3-D printed models. In front of the models, a live stream of the Western Wall precinct will be screened, highlighting the dichotomy between past and future.” Italy Arcipelago Italia “Projects for the future of the country’s interior territories” focuses on the urban space that runs along the Italian ridge, from the Alpine Arch, along the Apennines, up to the Mediterranean. An itinerary with a hundred stages, suggested by small, high quality architectural projects realized in recent years and the result of a call promoted by the curator, in dialogue with examples taken from history, with the relationship between architecture and landscape; a journey into the future, investigating the current situation and proposing a reflection on contemporary issues such as the urban periphery, the earthquake aftermath, brownfields, railways and mobility; five experimental projects in as many areas of Italy.” Japan Architectural Ethnography from Tokyo: Guidebooks and Projects on Livelihood Location: Giardini “The Japan Pavilion’s curated presentation showcases over 40 exhibitors, ranging from university design studios and architectural offices to contemporary artistic practices from all over the world from the last twenty years.” Korea Spectres of the State Avant-garde Location: Giardini “The Korean Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will present Spectres of the State Avant-garde, an imagined archive of the Korea Engineering Consultants Corp. (KECC), a technical consultancy for architecture and civil engineering established by the government in 1963. Spectres of the State Avant-garde seeks to reconstruct a hidden narrative about the state’s paradoxical pursuit of a utopian vision for society through oppressive government policy. KECC enjoyed an unparalleled dominance over Korea’s architecture and construction industry, and the breadth of its activities reached beyond civil engineering and infrastructural projects to include urban master plans and expo pavilions. Their visions at times mimicked the radical architectural experiments of the West but more often assumed a pragmatic attitude in line with the state developmental agenda.” Kosovo The City is Everywhere Location: Asenale “The Pavilion’s concept revolves around the idea of ‘house’ as a compensation for the city. During ‘90s Kosovo Albanians were expelled from all activities of public institutional life because of the political conflicts in ex—Yugoslavia. Due to that Kosovo Albanians created a parallel system of public institutions into their private houses in peripheral areas of the city. The pavilion space, named The City Is Everywhere is a house always on the making and somehow unfinished because of these new additional public functions. The inside represents the outside at the same time. All public life of Albanians during ‘90s for 10 years were provided into these inside private spaces opened by by Kosovo Albanians for public uses. The house became a metaphor for the city—it was a public space / a school / a gallery / a hospital / a shop / a café and a home at the same time. Latvia Together and Apart Location: Arsenale “The Latvian pavilion looks at apartment buildings in relation to architecture’s role in organizing the society. It examines how this architectural typology generates ways of living together and apart — with one another, the market, and the state. During its 100–year–long history, Latvia has undergone several fundamental political and economic transformations that have employed housing as a means of reform. Today, despite being one of the most sparsely populated regions of Europe, nearly two thirds of Latvians live in apartment buildings, which is the highest ratio in Europe.” Lebanon The Place That Remains Location: Arsenale “The project involves a reflection on the built environment through a reflection on the unbuilt land and the possible visions for the future of the national territory and landscape. The focus will be on Nahr Beirut (Beirut River) and its watershed. The project explores the preconditions for architecture through assessing its bedrock and the challenges protagonists face, such as the fragile nature of territory, scarcity of resources and commodification. The format chosen for the project is a combined 3D relief map, landscape photography and video surveillance, while the watershed setting allows its creators to ensure that the resources remain the key focus.” Lithuania The Swamp Pavilion Location: Il Giardino Bianco Art Space (Castello Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1815 “In a time marked by existential threats of war and climate change, the pavilion highlights the vital urgency of human cohabitation with humans and forms of life. Inaugurated with the launch of live broadcasting programmes on Swamp Radio, The Swamp Space and its extended network will engage audiences in a variety of acoustic space explorations. ‘The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him,’ maintained Bertolt Brecht. Acts of revalorizing the Swamp over solid ground and exploring its complex web of interactions are both conceived as pedagogical exercises by the project’s initiators with aims to transmit possibilities of speaking for the silenced voices of this planet.” Luxembourg The Architecture of a Common Ground Location: Arsenale “Highlights the importance of land and property for architecture and urban planning: privatisation as well as speculation, especially with urban land, has risen dramatically in the past decade. Many European towns and cities, which, like Luxembourg, are under enormous pressure to develop, have virtually run out of building land. The project draws attention to this striking lack of public land with a spatial installation and literally confronts it with projects – tracked down in the architectural history of ideas, flanked by initial research results from the young University of Luxembourg – that make as much public space available as possible over and above the defined programmes. The social and political dimension of architecture is linked to its creative power. The Architecture of the Common Ground puts forward a clear statement that does not mean to deliver universal answers but to show to what extent architects may conceptually react to the privatisation of land. The Architecture of the Common Ground is an appeal to view the unreproducible and indispensable resource of land as a common good, like air and water. “ Macedonia Freeingspace Location: Arsenale – Sale d’Armi Mexico My Art Guide Mexico City Location: Arsenale “A paper guide and digital issue dedicated to Zona Maco and the art week in Mexico City is now available online, as well as an iOS app. This edition has been developed thanks to an incredible editorial committee formed by Carlos Amorales (Artist), Juan Gaitán (Director of Museo Tamayo), and Mauricio Galguera (Director of Galería Hilario Galguera and co-director of El Cuarto de máquinas). The committee has been working to select the best and most interesting art spaces and exhibitions in town.” Mongolia (Cancelled) Understanding Location: Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1815 Montenegro Wo/man Under Umbrella Location: Palazzo Malipiero (ground floor), San Marco 3078-3079/A, Ramo Malipiero “The exhibition is a framework for future research, which will actualize the need for a holistic approach, through imperative resilience of socio-ecological systems. Such approach entails transdisciplinary methods i.e. broadening the architectural knowledge base, and understanding complex, adaptive and self-regulating systems where narrow-range activities have unconceivable consequences.” Nordic Countries Explore Nature's Relationship to the Built Environment Location: Giardini “The pavilion explores the relationship between nature and the built environment. The goal is to explore new ways of making buildings that emphasize the delicate but often invisible interactions between the built and natural worlds. The Nordic pavilion, designed by Sverre Fehn in 1962, celebrates nature’s different phenomena: light, sound, materials bringing them together to form a unique architectural experience. The 2018 installation in the Nordic pavilion will build on the context created by Fehn and ask how we see ourselves in relation to nature today.” Pakistan The Fold Location: Levante section of the Gardens of Marinaressa, along Riva dei Sette Martiri “The National Pavilion of Pakistan team Presenting Pakistan’s architectural design prowess to the international community are Coalesce Design Studio, a Karachi-based multidisciplinary design practice, and Antidote Art & Design, a Dubai-based platform that serves the careers of emerging and mid-career visual artists and designers, with the generous support of GAA Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organization that aims to heighten awareness about the more philosophical themes in contemporary art, architecture, and culture. The Pavilion of Pakistan, titled The Fold, explores these ideas of limitation and interdependence, inviting visitors to comprehend Freespace as a consequence of unity, mutuality and harmony amidst a restrictive physicality. This makes it simultaneously a global as well as a local phenomenon.” Peru Undercover. 4000 Years of Architecture and Urban Planning in an Unexpected Place: Lima Location: Arsenale “Peru immediately brings to mind the Incas and the grandeur of Machu Picchu. Little is known, however, about its capital, Lima, a city where it never rains. With 7 mm of annual rainfall, it is one of the driest on Earth. This has been a decisive factor in the survival of a great number of adobe architectural monuments in the past 4000 years – 447 structures, to be precise. The curators found reserves of generosity in this legacy.” Philippines The City Who Had Two Navels Location: Arsenale “Inspired by Filipino National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s novel The Woman Who Had Two Navels (1961), the Philippine Pavilion confronts the tension between the vicissitudes of the past and the challenges of constructing contemporary subjectivity. It highlights two ‘navels’ that are in constant dialogue: the forces of colonialism and neoliberalism. Through the speculations about the intertwined forces and the concomitant architectural and urban issues, Philippines’ ‘Freespace’ anticipates possibilities for renewed life and hope.” Poland Amplifying Nature Location: Giardini “Architecture serves not only to offer protection from nature, but is inherently connected with phenomena such as gravitation, water circulation, or the day-night cycle. This concept is present in nature-amplifying designs from the history of Polish architecture: the Warszawianka sports complex, inscribed in the Vistula River escarpment, designed by a Jerzy Sołtan-led team of the Art-and-Research Workshops of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Zofia and Oskar Hansens’ Szumin House, and Jacek Damięcki’s visionary, unrealised design of the Floating Rotary Pavilion, and in two original designs by CENTRALA — the vertically open Cabrio House and the Rain Pavilion. Throughout the 6 months of the show, the pavilion will be actively shaped by factors including water, daily and annual light rhythms, or viewer interaction, demonstrating how architecture is inclusive in processes of physical change.” Portugal Public Without Rhetoric Location: Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, near Piazza San Marco “This theme underlines how closely State investment in accessible, quality public space is directly related to the rise of a democratic, cultured and inclusive society. Portugal is showcasing a tour of the “Public Building” on the main floor in Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, near Piazza San Marco. Its representation includes a collection of drawings, models and photographs of the 12 selected projects that include temporary structures, buildings or infrastructures dedicated to culture, education, sport and mobility. This is the work of several different generations of Portuguese architects, born between the 1930s and 1980s and built in the last ten years. The diversity of programmes and scales in this exhibition are used to reveal the universal culture and cross-generation excellence of these Portuguese architects. ‘Public buildings such as cultural, educational and sports facilities and infrastructures,’ as the curators point out, ‘belong to the idea of evolution and progressivity as regards social opportunities. They in fact simultaneously reconstruct and rehabilitate the city and renew public space in terms of quality and culture.’” Slovenia Living with Water Location: Arsenale “The Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) presents the project Living with Water in the Pavilion of Slovenia at the 16th Venice International Architecture Biennale. They developed a series of installations that investigate the relations between the hydrological systems and constructed structures, territory and landscapes on a range of spatial, temporal and operational scales. Furthermore, Plemenitaš and his team developed a Multi-Scale Flow Map.” Romania Mnemonics Location: one for the Giardini and one for the Romanian Institute of Culture and Humanistic Research (RICHR) in Cannaregio “Mnemonics is the ancient technique of collecting memories. The ultimate challenge of architecture is the ability of a space to generate strong memories. In Romania the image of children playing outside the buildings is the universal icon of the space between the apartment buildings. The installation uses props specific to the environment mentioned above in order to invite everyone to exchange roles on the playground, to interact and reflect over the effects of the appropriation of a common space by communities.” Russia Station Russia Location: Giardini “The pavilion explores the past, present and future of the railways in Russia. The space itself will be transformed into a train station. The focus of the exhibition forms a parallel with the history of the Russian Pavilion itself, which was inaugurated in 1914. The building’s designer, Alexey Shchusev, was also responsible for the Kazansky Railway Station. The space will be divided into five halls: Hall 1: The Geography of Free Space Hall 2: The Architectural Depot Hall 3: The Waiting Hall of the Future Hall 4: The Crypt of Memories Hall 5: Aboard the Free Space” San Marino Urban Colors Location: Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli, Dorsoduro 947 “The project we propose for the 16th Architecture Biennale focuses on the relationship between architecture and urban environments, with particular attention to color, often absent or arbitrarily used, in modern architecture. There will be projects, models, videos, photographs, works of art by architects, designers, and artists from different countries.” Saudi Arabia Spaces In Between Location: Arsenale “‘Freespace invites opportunity. It welcomes passersby, visitors and tenants. Once, open land accommodated independent settlement. Today, the consumption of space drives suburban growth. Within the peripheries, where development meets desert, the distinction between city edge and hinterland is blurred as bare expanses are punctured by swift development. Structures ranging from pathways, forums to flexible spaces, activating the inherent potential of the spaces in between.’ Over the past four decades, Saudi metropolitan centers have undergone rapid urbanization, with rural migration propelling built territories outwards. Settlement-driven growth produces disjointed, mono-functional, car-dependent neighborhoods connected by highways. In this state of fragmentation, over 40% of city land lies vacant. The wide distances between residential enclaves erode social ties and deplete natural resources.” Serbia Free School Is Free Space Location: Giardini “This work was inspired by the Drawing on the Wall found in a basement room of the house which used to be Bogdan Bogdanovic’s Village School of the Philosophy of Architecture from 1976 to 1990. After the school was closed, over its long history of decay, the house became a Free Space for refugees, football players, hunters, vagrants… The metaphysics of this drawing and the history of the place introduce us to a state of archetypal intimacy of primitive peoples or theological-cosmological interpretations of ourselves. As a rule, such a psychological state turns us into self-taught architects of our personal inner space while the process of transition from the surreal to the real unfolds within us.” Singapore No More Free Space Location: Arsenale “Under the direction of lead curator Dr. Erwin Viray, Head of Pillar, Architecture and Sustainable Design at Singapore University of Technology and Design. The exhibition comprises twelve Singapore-based architecture projects, spanning residential, commercial, private and public buildings, each demonstrating how to turn constraints into opportunities for ‘free space’ by re-imagining what a highly compact city can be. Each project incorporates light, air, greenery or water to create oasis and delightful free spaces in dense urban environments, bringing joy and connectivity to the community. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be an interactive installation – an ethereal cloud of handcrafted acrylic knots with multi-sensory sounds, light and image projections, re-creating the experiences of Singapore for the audience.” Slovenia Living with Water Location: Arsenale “The Living with Water commissioner appointed a group of internationally acclaimed architects, landscape architects, researchers and educators, who applied for an open invitation to participate in the development of a joint presentation at the Pavilion of Slovenia. The multidisciplinary process of their work is presented in two installations. Because of water, life in Slovenia is enjoyable and satisfying, but at the same time water represents a particular danger. Nearly 160,000 Slovenian inhabitants live in flood-prone areas and some 50 to 70 floods of varying sizes affect Slovenia every year. At the same time, the right to drinking water has been enshrined in the Constitution since 2016 and almost one-fifth of Slovenia's territory is protected in order to safeguard drinking water resources. On the other hand, many concessions for the management of important water resources have been granted to corporations.” South Africa (Cancelled) Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng “In response to the Biennale’s theme, the South African Pavilion invites viewers to explore the artist’s role in visualising and articulating the notion of selfhood within a context of global marginalisation. What is it to be visible in everyday life, yet invisible and disregarded at the level of cultural, political or economic representation? The exhibition reflects on experiences of exclusion, displacement, transience, migration and xenophobia, exploring the complex socio-political forces that shape the performance of selfhood under such conditions.” Spain Becoming Commissioner: Ministerio de Fomento Agencia Española de Venue: Giardini Turkey The Shift/Vardiya Location: Arsenale “The Shift/Vardiya, follows an atypical architectural discourse compared to other installations or projects that are set to be exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Tackling the essence of the biennale's theme Freespace directly or indirectly, or both analogically or metaphorically, the Pavilion doesn't feature a unique installation or a series of exhibition objects. Instead, it focuses on the process of production through which architecture is studied collectively and experimentally with many students and professionals coming from different disciplines from around the world. The Shift is envisioned to be a hotspot for various workshops, roundtable discussions and informal meetings, welcoming over a hundred international students of architecture, tens of tutors, guest professionals, keynote speakers and visitors while inviting all to a continuous learning and production process throughout the twenty-five weeks of the biennial.” United Arab Emirates Lifescapes Beyond Bigness Location: Arsenale “Lifescapes Beyond Bigness, the National Pavilion UAE’s exhibition at the 2018 Venice Biennale, will reveal hidden scenes of everyday life in the UAE across four ‘human-scale’ urban landscapes. Opening on 24 May 2018 at 12 noon, the exhibition will highlight the interplay between the built environment and the dynamism of informal social life through images, technical drawings, maps and three-dimensional models. The exhibition and accompanying publication examine four urban typologies, including: residential neighborhoods, morphology and social rhythm of the four typologies. Case studies and detailed personal stories offer insight into the anthropology of each research site.” Uruguay Prison to Prison, an Intimate Story between two Architectures Location: Giardini “The project for the pavilion explores the existence of an unprecedented Freespace inside the unlikeliest place and in close relationship with its larger opposite. Last year the largest building created in Uruguay was a prison and this symbolic fact bears witness to the desires and fears of our society and the effect that architecture can have. Ironically, this new prison was built adjacent to the existing Punta de Rieles Prison, often referred to as the “village jail.” A unique experience in Uruguay, and in the world, in which the prison is understood as a lively, vibrant neighborhood that imitates the outside on the inside, resulting in an unexpected Freespace for collective projects and negotiations inside a detention center.” Vatican City Vatican Chapels Location: Island of San Giorgio Maggiore “The pavilion will consist of ten full-scale chapels that can reconstructed and deployed to parishes anywhere in the world. Vatican Chapels, as the project is officially known, will be erected in a forest on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, opposite St. Mark’s Square.” Venezuela CCS – Espacio Rebelde Commissioner and curator: Nelsón Rodriguez Location: Giardini “The show on display at the pavilion projects three large-scale urban plans in Caracas: Avenida Bolivar-Bulevar de Sabana Grande, Simón Bolívar Parl in la Carlota and the Hugo Chávez Park in La Rinconada.” Switzerland Svizzera 240 Location: Giardini “The Salon Suisse offers a series of lectures, talks and cultural events supplementing the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion. Curated by architectural historian Marcel Bächtiger, cultural theorist Tim Kammasch and architect Stanislas Zimmermannwith the support of local Salonnière Laura Tinti, this year’s programme is an invitation to a journey. If architecture is an island within the archipelago of the artistic and scientific disciplines, then the Salon is a ship that has left the harbour. From foreign shores, we will look back at architecture and explore its cultural and social relevance today. In the long history of architecture, such moments have always proved most fruitful when the discourse opened up to ideas, insights and inventions from other disciplines. Today, it is time to set sail again. On our journey, we will encounter philosophers and anthropologists, writers, musicians and artists, comparatists and social researchers. By discussing their work and its relevance to architecture, the Salon Suisse will open new perspectives, not only on the potentials of architecture in the 21st century, but also on hidden connections that have always existed among the different disciplines. Each soirée is also a cultural event: a concert, a lecture or a performance; a tangible sensory experience that will initiate conversation between the audience and our guests, all of them present over the whole length of a salon.” United States Dimensions of Citizenship – U.S. Pavilion at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale Location: Giardini “The exhibition is an effort aimed to investigate how the very concept of citizenship has changed in recent times and is changing these days. Does the conventional notion of citizenship is being undermined by transnational flows of capital, digital technologies, geopolitical transformations, climatic change, populism, social inequality? How architects and designers should respond to such transformation and in which way their traditional role in contemporary society is changing because of it?”