Posts tagged with "Venice":

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Gaetano Pesce on using a Giacometti sculpture for a coat rack

Alberto Giacometti’s Man Pointing
Many years ago I was in Venice during the winter. At that time I was acquainted with Peggy Guggenheim, who invited me, along with Francesca, the mother of my children, for an evening at her house-museum. The Venetian winter is extremely cold and wet, so we arrived to the event with heavy coats. A butler opened the door asking for our coats and hung them on a thin Giacometti sculpture that was in the entrance. I thought that the sculpture would have bent under the weight of the coats, but it actually resisted. That evening my suspicion that art has always been functional and practical, as well as being the bearer of meanings, was confirmed: The Giacometti statue was exhibited as a piece of art during the museum’s open hours, and in the evening, when that place became a private home, it was transformed into a coat rack. Object Lessons is a new collaboration between AN and Façadomy that asks a diverse range of designers and artists to reflect on an object (material or otherwise) that has made a significant impact on their practice. Through personal anecdotes from notable practitioners, the series highlights the myriad ways in which the built environment informs our identities. A previous piece by Nancy Davidson considered a weather balloon. Curated by Riley Hooker/Façadomy
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Don’t miss John Ruskin’s art at Doge’s Palace in Venice

It is no secret that English Victorian intellectual John Ruskin (1819-1900) loved Venice, and the maritime city was the subject of one of his most famous written works, The Stones of Venice. He made over 15 trips to Venice, documenting it in writing as well as in painting, watercolor, sketches, and even early daguerreotype photographs from the late 1840s—all of which is on view at the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) in Venice through June 10.

The exhibition, titled John Ruskin: Le pietre di Venezia (John Ruskin: The Stones of Venice), shows a breadth of material that he produced on his many journeys to the city, with a particular focus on his art. The curators call Ruskin "a central figure in the nineteenth-century international art scene, a writer, painter and art critic," and seek to illustrate how strongly he was tied to Venice and its architecture.

The show features sketchbooks, prints, plaster casts, watercolors, and architectural studies from Ruskin, his influences, and his contemporaries. The objects on view further contextualizes Ruskin's within the history of Venice, but also within the history of art itself. By displaying the material in the heart of Venice in a building that is featured prominently in the exhibition, it becomes an immersive history lesson from many angles.

Ruskin was a proto-socialist and a religious man who wrote often of the moral and social aspects of aesthetics and craft. Ruskin had a fondness for the Gothic and Byzantine, as well as the Medieval and “anti-classical” Venice that he felt was being erased in favor of the Renaissance, a trend he tied to the moral and spiritual decay of Venetian society:

“[Venice]… is still left for our beholding in the final period of her decline: a ghost upon the sands of the sea, so weak—so quiet,—so bereft of all but her loveliness, that we might well doubt, as we watched her faint reflection in the mirage of the lagoon, which was the City, and which the Shadow.

I would endeavour to trace the lines of this image before it be for ever lost, and to record, as far as I may, the warning which seems to me to be uttered by every one of the fast-gaining waves, that beat, like passing bells, against the Stones of Venice."

Most notably is the influence of one of the first modern painters, the English Romantic J. M. W. Turner, who like Ruskin was grappling with the rise of Modernism. For Turner, this was a cutting-edge use of abstraction to create effects in painting—which Ruskin also engaged with following Turner’s lead. Both Ruskin’s landscapes and his analytical paintings are included in the exhibition. A selection of manuscripts and sketchbooks for The Stones of Venice provide a glimpse into his ways of working, as well.

Information on tickets to the show and hours of operation can be found here.
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AN is in Venice for the 2018 Architecture Biennale

The Architect’s Newspaper is already in Venice for the 16th Architecture Biennale all over "La Serenissima." We will have the most complete coverage of the Biennale of any news source, with five reporters on the ground (and water), checking out the pavilions and early events. We have, for example, just been told by French architect Odile Decq that there is a last minute “stand up for women in architecture planned for Friday at 11” in the Giardini and we will have more information on it as it develops. AN will be providing updates and impressions from the Biennale throughout the week.
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Painter Carl Laubin creates meticulous architectural dreamscapes

Carl Laubin, a British-American architect turned full-time painter, has dedicated the last three decades of his professional career to the painting of architectural capricci, bucolic landscapes and portraiture. An architectural capriccio encompasses the imagined assembly of buildings across fantastic landscapes. Laubin’s choice of subject matter jumps between historical periods. What seemed chronological at first: Andrea Palladio, followed by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, jumped to Neo-Classicists Claude-Nicholas Ledoux, Charles Cockerell, and Leo von Klenze, then to Edwin Lutyens, with Post-Modernist John Outram and Leon Krier thrown into the mix. Currently, Laubin is working on a capriccio of John Nash’s work. On average, these capricci require one-and-a-half to three years to complete, depending on how prolific the subject was, with time split evenly between the drawing and painting periods. Although the bulk of Laubin’s capricci focus on the work of historic designers, he has produced paintings that combine a multitude of contemporary architects. A Classical Perspective comprises architectural pieces designed by the winners of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Richard H. Driehaus Prize. Beginning with the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in the foreground, the oil painting collages notable works by Robert A.M Stern, Demetri Porphyrios, Michael Graves, Abed-Wahed El-Wakil and Quinlan Terry, to name a few. Educated at Cornell University, Laubin describes his early painting as “a second, secretive life,” one conducted outside of Cornell’s then-rigid modernist education. Laubin graduated from Cornell with a B.A of Architecture in 1973, and subsequently decamped to England to join Douglas Stephen and Partners, Architects and Civic Designers (1973-1983) and later Jeremy Dixon/BDP (1984-1986). While working as an architect, Laubin painted in secret, waking at dawn to hone his craft before going to work. Seeing as how the production of capricci is a centuries-long tradition, Laubin cites a number of artists as influencing his style. To Laubin, Piranesi “was and remains an example of how to be liberated from the constraints of reality in creating an imagined world in a drawing or painting, and even how to be liberated from the constraints of drawing itself.” Canaletto’s grand paintings of Venice and London are firmly behind Laubin’s composition of urban scenes populated with bustling denizens. In his fantastical characteristics, the phantasmagoric visions of Joseph Gandy are plainly evident. While Laubin insists that there is no clear methodology to his process of creating a capriccio, he has a general approach to each project. The first step is the steady amassing of information on the subject matter. This initial creative moment includes the reading of primary and secondary sources, visiting individual sites, and sketching as much of the architect’s canon as possible. Subsequently, each sketch is collaged and re-collaged until a suitable format is found, representative of an architect’s professional timeline as well as the general hierarchy of their work. In creating the landscapes for his capricci, Laubin follows a recipe for a classical landscape given to him by postmodern architect John Outram. In Outram’s view, one always crossed a river or a bridge into a classical painting, and then ascended through various levels of civilization from cave dwellers, through agrarian societies, to urban areas, and finally places of worship at the highest point. In tandem with this formula, Laubin draws upon the landscapes surrounding individual sites and fuses them into the overarching collage of elements.
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Venice Architecture Biennale announces main exhibitors and expands on its theme

Curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale have announced more details about the 2018 show, themed Freespace. This year, 71 studios and 65 countries, seven of which are participating for the first time, including the Vatican, will show their work in two separate exhibitions, from May 26 through November 25, 2018. In the show’s manifesto by Farrell and McNamara, Freespace is described as, “[…] examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world that will be celebrated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. We believe these qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support meaningful contact between people and place. We focus our attention on these qualities because we consider that intrinsic to them are optimism and continuity.” As such, Freespace entrants will be given leeway to present works that can range from open civic spaces to material studies, as long as they laud the natural world and “nature’s free gifts.” Freespace is accepting proposals, examples, and pieces of projects, both built and unbuilt, that evoke a hidden beauty through the use of materiality, form, complexity, or place. Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia, praised this year’s theme and the participants’ commitment to improving society through design. “The absence of architecture makes the world poorer and diminishes the level of public welfare, otherwise reached by economic and demographic developments. To rediscover architecture means to renew a strong desire for the quality of the spaces where we live, which are a form of public wealth that needs to be constantly protected, renovated and created?" Below are all 71 architects:
  1. 6a architects(London, UK) Tom Emerson; Stephanie Macdonald; John Ross; Owen Watson
  2. Alison Brooks Architects(London, UK) Alison Brooks
  3. Álvaro Siza 2 – Arquitecto, SA(Porto, Portugal) Álvaro Siza Vieira
  4. Amateur Architecture Studio(Hangzhou, China) Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu
  5. andramatin(Jakarta, Indonesia) Andra Matin
  6. Angela Deuber Architect(Chur, Switzerland) Angela Deuber
  7. architecten de vylder vinck taillieu(Ghent, Belgium) Jan de Vylder; Inge Vinck; Jo Taillieu
  8. Arrea architecture(Ljubljana, Slovenia) Maruša Zorec
  9. Assemble(London, UK) Jane Issler Hall; Mathew Leung; Alice Edgerley; Adam Willis; Fran Edgerley; Amica Dall; Giles Smith; James Binning; Paloma Strelitz; Lewis Jones; Joseph Halligan; Louis Schulz; Maria Lisogorskaya; Karim Khelil; Anthony Engi Meacock
  10. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner(Haldenstein, Switzerland) Peter Zumthor
  11. Aurelio Galfetti(Lugano and Bellinzona, Switzerland)
  12. Barclay & Crousse(Lima, Peru) Sandra Barclay; Jean-Pierre Crousse
  13. BC architects & studies(Brussels, Belgium) Ken De Cooman; Nicolas Coeckelberghs; Wes Degreef; Laurens Bekemans
  14. Benedetta Tagliabue - Miralles Tagliabue EMBT(Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China) Benedetta Tagliabue; Elena Nedelcu; Joan Callís
  15. BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group(New York, USA; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, UK) Bjarke Ingels; Sheela Maini Søgaard; Finn Nørkjær; Thomas Christoffersen; Kai-Uwe Bergmann; Andreas Klok Pedersen; David Zahle; Jakob Lange; Beat Schenk; Daniel Sundlin; Brian Yang; Jakob Sand
  16. Burkhalter Sumi Architekten (Zürich, Switzerland)  Marianne Burkhalter; Christian Sumi with Marco Pogacnik (Venice, Italy)
  17. Carla Juaçaba(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  18. Caruso St John Architects(London, UK) Adam Caruso; Peter St John
  19. Case Design(Mumbai, India) Anne Geenen; Samuel Barclay
  20. Cino Zucchi Architetti(Milan, Italy) Cino Zucchi
  21. Crimson Architectural Historians(Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Ewout Dorman; Michelle Provoost; Cassandra Wilkins; Wouter Vanstiphout; Simone Rots; Annuska Pronkhorst
  22. David Chipperfield Architects(London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China) David Chipperfield; Alexander Schwarz; Martin Reichert; Christoph Felger; Eva Schad; Harald  Müller
  23. de Blacam and Meagher Architects(Dublin, Ireland; Ibiza, Spain) Shane de Blacam; John Meagher
  24. Diller Scofidio + Renfro(New York, USA) Elizabeth Diller; Charles Renfro; Ricardo Scofidio; Benjamin Gilmartin
  25. DnA_Design and Architecture(Beijing, China) Xu Tiantian
  26. Dorte Mandrup A/S(Copenhagen, Denmark) Dorte Mandrup; Frants Nielsen
  27. Elemental(Santiago, Chile) Alejandro Aravena; Gonzalo Arteaga; Juan Cerda; Diego Torres; Victor Oddo
  28. Elizabeth Hatz Architects(Stockholm, Sweden) Elizabeth Hatz
  29. Estudio Carme Pinós(Barcelona, Spain) Carme Pinós
  30. Flores & Prats(Barcelona, Spain) Eva Prats; Ricardo Flores
  31. Francesca Torzo Architetto(Genova, Italy) Francesca Torzo
  32. Gion A. Caminada(Vrin-Cons, Switzerland)
  33. GrupoSP(São Paulo, Brazil) Alvaro Puntoni; Joao Sodre
  34. Gumuchdjian Architects(London, UK) Philip Gumuchdjian
  35. Hall McKnight(Belfast and London, UK) Alastair Hall; Ian McKnight
  36. Inês Lobo, Arquitectos(Lisbon, Portugal) Inês Lobo; João Rosário
  37. Jensen og Skodvin Arkitekter AS(Oslo, Norway) Jan Olav Jensen; Børre Skodvin; Torunn Golberg; Torstein Koch
  38. John Wardle Architects(Melbourne, Australia) John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Meaghan Dwyer, Bill Krotiris, Jane Williams
  39. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA(Tokyo, Japan) Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa
  40. Kieran Long; Johan Örn; James Taylor-Foster (Stockholm, Sweden) with  ArkDes (Stockholm, Sweden)
  41. Lacaton & Vassal Architects(Paris, France) Anne Lacaton; Jean Philippe Vassal
  42. Laura Peretti Architects(Rome, Italy) Laura Peretti
  43. Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo(Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy)
  44. Marie-José Van Hee architecten(Ghent, Belgium) Marie-José Van Hee
  45. Marina Tabassum Architects(Dhaka, Bangladesh) Marina Tabassum
  46. Matharoo Associates(Ahmedabad, India) Gurjit Singh Matharoo
  47. Michael Maltzan Architecture(Los Angeles, USA) Michael Maltzan
  48. Niall McLaughlin Architects(London, UK) Niall McLaughlin
  49. O'Donnell + Tuomey(Dublin, Ireland) John Tuomey; Sheila O'Donnell
  50. Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos(Madrid, Spain) Angela Garcia de Paredes; Ignacio G. Pedrosa
  51. Paulo Mendes da Rocha(São Paulo, Brazil)
  52. Peter Rich Architects(Johannesburg, South Africa) Peter Rich
  53. Rafael Moneo, Arquitecto(Madrid, Spain) Rafael Moneo
  54. Rintala Eggertsson Architects(Oslo and Bodø, Norway) Dagur Eggertsson; Vibeke Jensen; Sami Rintala
  55. RMA Architects(Mumbai, India; Boston, USA) Rahul Mehrotra; Nondita Correa Mehrotra; Robert Stephens; Payal Patel
  56. Robert McCarter, Professor of Architecture(St. Louis, Missouri, USA) Robert McCarter
  57. Room11 Architects(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) Thomas Bailey; Nathan Crump; Megan Baynes
  58. Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura(Mexico City, Mexico) Rozana Montiel
  59. Salter Collingridge Design(London and Ludlow, UK) Peter Salter; Fenella Collingridge
  60. Sauerbruch Hutton(Berlin, Germany) Matthias Sauerbruch; Louisa Hutton; Juan Lucas Young
  61. Skälsö Arkitekter(Visby and Stockholm, Sweden) Joel Phersson; Erik Gardell; Lisa Ekström; Mats Håkansson; Axel Wolgers
  62. Souto Moura - Arquitectos, S.A.(Porto, Portugal) Eduardo Souto de Moura
  63. Studio Anna Heringer(Laufen, Germany) Anna Heringer
  64. Studio Gang(Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, USA) Jeanne Gang
  65. Studio Odile DECQ(Paris, France) Odile Decq
  66. Talli Architecture and Design(Helsinki, Finland) Pia Ilonen; Minna Lukander; Martti Lukander
  67. Tezuka Architects(Tokyo, Japan) Takaharu Tezuka; Yui Tezuka
  68. Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects(Tokyo, Japan) Toyo Ito
  69. Vector Architects(Beijing, China) Gong Dong
  70. VTN Architects(Hochiminh City, Vietnam) Vo Trong Nghia
  71. Weiss/Manfredi(New York, USA) Marion Weiss; Micheal Manfredi
This year’s biennale will also see pavilions from the aforementioned 65 countries go up in the Giardini, the Arsenale, and the Venice city center. It also marks the first time that Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, and the Holy See will be exhibiting pavilions. The national participants have chosen to tackle the theme in a variety of ways. While some countries have opted to highlight environmental justice, others will prompt discussions on a “lack of free space” or seek to explore the term. A full list of the 65 national entrants and their pavilion’s theme can be found here. The United States will front a hefty and diverse group of seven design teams for this year’s show to realize Dimensions of Citizenship.
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What if Venice dies? Are architects to blame?

In The Stones of Venice, John Ruskin decries the ways the modern world is destroying the fragile particularity that is Venice. His biggest worries? Train travel and classical arches. God only knows what he would he make of Aqualta 2060, a proposal presented at the 2010 biennale to ring Venice with skyscrapers. In Salvatore Settis's newly translated If Venice Dies, Acqualta 2060 represents the ultimate debasement of a human-scale city by a global economic system that reduces everything, even history, to a commodity. Though only ever a pie-in-the-sky proposal, Acqualta 2060 is a powerful metaphor for Settis's larger argument. The project, Settis argues, reduces Venice to a series expensive views designed to profit real estate speculators. The historic city—animated by the daily use of it citizens for a thousand years—would be reduced to a shell. A City Without a People If you've been to Venice lately, you know the hollowing out of the city is already well underway. For Settis—an archeologist, art historian and former director of the Getty Research Institute—the imminent danger to Venice is not rising sea levels (though, of course, he acknowledges this as a very serious concern). Much more urgent is the threat that it will drown in the oblivion of a "tourist monoculture":
Oblivion doesn’t simply mean forgetting one’s own history, or developing a morbid addiction to beauty, which is experienced as though it were a lifeless ornament that should console us. It primarily means forgetting something essential: the specific role that a city plays in comparison to others, its uniqueness, and its diversity, virtues that Venice possesses more than any other city in the world.
Settis gazes unflinchingly at the towering cruise ships that turn Venice into a fleeting spectacle for paying guests, while literally weakening its ancient foundations. And to make vivid in our imagination a Venice without actual Venetians, he takes us on an unsavory tour of Venetian-style simulacrums around the world, from Las Vegas to Chongqing—even a proposal for a theme-park style replica of Venice within (most ironically of all) Venice itself. A Vitruvian Oath For Settis, Venice is a vivid case study for a process engulfing historic centers everywhere, and he challenges architects everywhere to stop participating in the accelerating commodification of urban life. In particular, he excoriates the way architects and their clients use purely aesthetic arguments to "mask the cynicism of the financial wheeling and dealing and real estate speculation that triggered them in the first place." As an antidote, the classically minded Settis sends his readers back to Vitruvius. Just as doctors take a Hippocratic oath, he argues, architects should take a Vitruvian oath. "No architect," writes Settis, "should ever agree to building anything—whether it’s a bridge, a terrace, or a window—that might contribute to the death of the historic city by destroying its uniqueness." Cri de Coeur At times, Settis can seem like a conservative curmudgeon, with his extravagant rhetoric and appeal to some golden past. Yet he describes the market's familiar creep into the public domain with such vividness, and he so forcefully marks out what is stake (not just Venice but civil society itself), that by the end you can only thank him exactly for his apparent faults. If you stay with him to the last page, you find it is impossible to disagree with his conclusion that, if Venice dies, "the very idea of the city—as an open space where diversity and social life can unfold, as the supreme creation of our civilization, as a commitment to and promise of democracy—will also die with it." If Venice Dies, by Salvatore Settis, translated by André Naffis-Sahely, New Vessel Press, September 2016, paper, 180 pages, $16.95.
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Some of the world’s leading architectural minds recount their obsession with Venice in a new book

Why did the Venetians build their city in such an unlikely place? And how ever did they succeed in doing so? These are the central questions architect and historian Richard Goy poses in his introduction to newly published Dream of Venice Architecture. The first is easy to answer. The first Venetians settled in the lagoon to escape the violent breakdown of the Roman Empire on the mainland, wrote Goy. But how, amid the muddy shoals of a brackish lagoon, did they manage to build such a strange and extravagant city?

It is a question that can inform, inspire—and haunt—an entire architectural career. Architects know exactly how hard it can be to build on terra firma, let alone tidal flats. Yet they instinctively understand that the most compelling built forms tend to coalesce around seemingly impossible challenges. 

Dream of Venice Architecture—edited, published, and with a preface by JoAnn Locktov—gathers 35 very short essays in which some of the world’s leading architectural minds, including Tadao Ando, Mario Botta, Jürgen Mayer H., and Witold Rybczynski, attempt to grapple with the strange and miraculous-seeming city. They alternately recount their obsessions with Venice, reflect on the ways it has infused their own practice, and propose ways to infuse it with new life in the 21st century. William Menking, founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, is among the contributors.

Each essay is accompanied by a single, exquisite image by Riccardo de Cal, a Venice-trained architect, photographer, and filmmaker. De Cal has managed to capture Venice in surprising and often poignant ways—no easy task in this postcard of a city. 

“I wanted to tell the story of a Venice empty and suspended in time, a place where nothing exists except architecture and nature—a place man does not inhabit,” said de Cal. Just to photograph Venice, one begins to understand the challenge of building in a place where, according to de Cal, “Everything is slanting in all three axes.”

A Multi-Dimensional Odyssey

“What can we learn from a city that is over 1,500 years old?” asked Locktov in her preface. A great deal, apparently.

For Hong Kong-based architect Rocco Yim, Venice directly informed his concept design for Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, which he described as a “multidimensional odyssey of public domains rather than set-pieces of iconic architecture.”

For Ando, work on the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana reoriented his entire attitude toward architecture’s scope.

“Though the Japanese culture has developed the habit of repeating ‘scrap and build’ philosophies based upon economic rationality, I believe that architecture should be essentially rooted in society and be immersed in a lapse of time,” wrote Ando. “This is exactly what I learned in Venice.”

For others, Venice has served as a kind of liminal space where the real and imaginary have been forced to meet. New York–based architect Louise Braverman equated the “unanticipated, variegated pleasures” of Venice with the architectural encounter itself.

Carlo Scarpa and a Venice of the Future

What is next for Venice itself? With luck, more than just fetishistic preservation, according to architect Frank Harmon.

“A city that has its own fortune in its crystallization cannot however reject to renew itself,” argued Harmon. “We have to be able to add a digital level of intelligence to the city, an invisible layer, like the foundations of mud.” 

In imagining a future for Venice, the essays also return again and again to the work of Venetian-born Carlo Scarpa as a model. Why? Because Scarpa’s projects—including the Olivetti Showroom on Piazza San Marco and the ground floor and gardens of the Palazzo Querini-Stampalia—are utterly contemporary both in form and materials even as they weave themselves harmoniously into an ancient and multifarious city.

Guido Pietropoli, who trained under and worked with Scarpa, praises his mentor’s ability to achieve a “Venetianity that makes no concession to the vernacular.”

And Valeriano Pastor, professor of architecture at the University of Venice, singles out the stone-lined canals that Scarpa places along the perimeters of the palazzo’s ground floor. They graciously accept, then expel again, the high tides that once threatened this flood-prone space.

In the process, Scarpa is “exalting the poetry inherent in the natural phenomenon while befriending its aggressive action,” writes Pastor. “It is a metonymic model—wonderful in itself—of the Venetian Lagoon system.”

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from Dream of Venice Architecture will help support architectural programming at the Fondazione Querini-Stampalia.

Dream of Venice Architecture Riccardo De Cal and Richard J. Goy, Bella Figura Publications, $26.99

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Tradition versus modernity in Venice, and that time Pink Floyd played St. Mark’s Basin

On July 15,1989, Pink Floyd held a concert in Venice in front of more than two hundred thousand people. Framed in the foreground by the city’s famous twin columns—of its patrons, St. Mark the Evangelist and St. Theodore of Amasea—and in the background by Andrea Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore, the band performed from a floating platform in the middle of the Venetian lagoon, while the assembled crowds filled every inch of St. Mark’s Square, the adjoining Piazzetta, and waterfront Riva degli Schiavoni, and even jostled for a front row seat in an ever-growing carpet of boats moored within the lagoon itself. A particularly striking aerial photograph presents the scene a few hours before the band took to the stage, “mechanically repeating,” as Roland Barthes would put it, “what could never be repeated existentially.”

Yet the romantic, almost fantastical nature of this moment is somehow misleading: In spite of the popularity of the concert—a “Night of Wonders,” as certain sections of the press described it—the event provoked an outpouring of opprobrium in Venice’s always tempestuous political quarters. A number of the city’s municipal administrators viewed the concert as an assault against Venice, something akin to a barbarian invasion of urban space. Other voices, such as the local architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri, were equally vitriolic. Lecturing at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) in 1993, just a year before his death, he spoke of how he despised the concert for being nothing more than a “postmodern masquerade”—the epitome of the frivolous discourse that characterized culture in the 1980s—and for the physical damage it had wrought on the city.

The idea for the performance had originated with Francesco (Fran) Tomasi, the band’s Italian promoter. “For their 1989 tour,” Tomasi recalled, “Pink Floyd were looking to perform in peculiar places. At the time, my office was in Venice and so I had the idea of organizing a free concert to coincide with the Feast of the Redeemer, the Redentore, in which the local population, rather than the tourists, always take an active part. The band immediately loved the idea.”

The Redentore, held annually on the third weekend of July, was initiated in 1578 to celebrate the end of the terrible plague. At sunset Venetians invade St. Mark’s Basin, from where they watch a fireworks display while bobbing up and down in their boats. In the 18th century it was also common to see gondolas and the smaller sandoli carrying musicians who entertained the crowds before the fireworks. It was this aquatic musical accompaniment that Tomasi hoped to recall with his own concert. The sheer scale of the event, however, called for a corresponding increase in the size of the musical boats. In the end, individual vessels were recast as a vast floating stage, 318 feet long by 79 feet wide and 79 feet high.

Preparations for the event, billed as the latest stop in the band’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason” tour, gathered pace. RAI, Italy’s state broadcaster, agreed to a live broadcast of the show. The big day drew closer. In June 1989, after a fiercef debate about the profanity or acceptability of such an event so close to the Redentore festivities, the city council finally granted its approval (in a democratic vote that went against the wishes of the mayor, Antonio Casellati).

Just three days before the event, however, Margherita Asso, Venice’s superintendent for cultural heritage (nicknamed the “Iron Superintendent”), vetoed the concert on the grounds that the amplified sound would damage the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica, while the whole piazza could very well sink under the weight of so many people. Tomasi had to think fast. He quickly offered to turn down the volume on the thousands of speakers and to move the stage back 98 feet, in an attempt to dampen the ardor of the crowd. Asso remained unconvinced, and it was not until the arrival of the three band members on July 13 that a so-called compromesso all’italiana (Italian-style compromise), involving decibel levels and crowd fencing, was secured and the concert could go ahead.

The show lasted just 90 minutes but lived long in the memory of those who witnessed it. The next day the local paper, Il Gazzettino, carried the headline “Grandi Pink Floyd, Povera Venezia” (“Great Pink Floyd, Poor Venice”), juxtaposing appreciative accounts of the show with images of St. Mark’s Square covered with litter and young people sleeping rough in doorways. No real damage had occurred, but the city woke with a distinct “after-party” look. The political reverberations were more far-reaching, and a few weeks later the local government fell.

Of course, Venice has a long history of political farragoes, just as it does of floating, ephemeral architectures, from Alvise Cornaro’s almost surreal 16th century proposal for a theater and artificial island on the lagoon, or the triumphal arch built near the church of Santa Lucia on the occasion of Napoleon’s visit to the city in 1807—a project famously depicted in a painting by Giuseppe Borsato—to the floating bath constructed by Tommaso Rima in 1833 and moored off the city’s Punta della Dogana, and, most celebrated of all, perhaps, Aldo Rossi’s highly poetic Teatro del Mondo, built in 1979.

Tafuri’s first edition of the Renaissance book, Venezia e il Rinascimento—published in 1985, just a few years before Pink Floyd’s floating stage (also witnessed from the Piazzetta)—articulated a characteristically political argument in presenting the history of Venice as a constant battle between those who wanted to restructure and renovate the city (whom Tafuri dubs the primi) and the traditionalists who only wanted to uphold its established principles and structures. The book was not written as a contemporary allegory, at least not explicitly, but the parallels are obvious, not least in the ongoing clash between the more progressive Venetians who defend the Serenissima’s artistic patrimony but also endorse more modern solutions, and those who seem only to consider the city as a kind of frozen museum. Like many entrenched oppositions, the two sides are actually not all that different, but the debate centered (and still centers) on striking a balance between the city’s delicate ecology and its economic viability. In this debate, tourism and spectacle are both the agent of destruction and the city’s salvation.

More than Palladio’s San Giorgio, then, this was the real backdrop to the Pink Floyd concert, confirming the music promoter Bill Graham’s famous adage, “politics uses and abuses rock music.” Even Mason himself revealed the ambivalences and overlaps endemic on both sides when he admitted, “I must say I like the idea of carrying on a tradition rather than being totally unique.” It was no coincidence that 1989 was also the year Venice was preparing its bid to host the 2000 European Expo, which was expected to attract upward of two hundred thousand visitors a day and act as a springboard for a new, modern city.

The project was backed largely by Italy’s Socialist Party (PSI), and more particularly by Gianni De Michelis, then the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Ranged against them were the traditionalists, including a number of key members of the opposing Christian Democrats, who were keen to block the expo bid by whatever means. If the former group had secured an initial victory in clearing the way for the smaller, metonymic rock concert, the latter soon took their revenge, using Pink Floyd as a Trojan horse to point to the city’s inability to accommodate a crowd. In fact, this apparent inability was not unconnected to the city’s refusal to provide either city cleaners or portable toilets for the concert. The day-after hangover, depicted in all its squalor by the local newspapers, had therefore actually been designed.

Despite his passion for Renaissance architecture and enduring fondness for Cornaro’s seemingly perverse theater project, Tafuri, as we have seen, was vociferous in his objections to both the Pink Floyd concert and to Venice playing host to the European Expo. For Tafuri, the theatricality of both events concealed a darker ambition to transform the city into a purely political and economic object. Venice, he countered, is a particular city that negates the possibility of an absolute modernity—a theme he returned to repeatedly, but especially in the same 1993 lecture in which he lambasted Pink Floyd.

In this talk, presciently titled “Le forme del tempo: Venezia e la modernità” (“The Forms of Time: Venice and Modernity”), he argued that the concert relied not only on the splendor of the city but also on the perfectly Italian splendors of blackmail and bribery, and the ascendancy of economic and media interests. However, perhaps because this was the school’s Lectio Magistralis (the inaugurating lecture for the academic year), he concluded more optimistically with the notion that the imago urbis of Venice is sacrosanct and impossible to recalibrate, ending defiantly with “The battle is not yet finished.”

But in many ways the battle has finished, and is one that has seen a victory of sorts for a kind of synthetic Venice that is both traditional town-museum and a contemporary hub—for what are the vast cruise liners that today pass through the Grand Canal if not a recalibrating imago urbis fundamentally reliant on both the historic and the commercial? And what, for that matter, is the Venice Biennale if not a repeating ritual that under the theatrical guise of art and architecture maintains a thriving, even defining, economic model? The vast numbers of people these different tourist attractions draw in dwarf all of the figures ascribed to that moment in July 1989 when Pink Floyd ended their set with “Run Like Hell.” The historian in Tafuri would no doubt see this as further confirmation of all those Italian splendors, and in this, as ever, he may well be right.

Léa-Catherine Szacka is also the author of the forthcoming book Le Concert with Sara Marini, which will be published by Editions B2 in 2017. A longer version of this paper was originally published in AA Files 69, 2014: 12-17.

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OMA unveils their refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

International practice OMA has completed a refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Originally constructed in 1228, rebuilt in 1508 after a fire, then given a concrete structure in the 1930s, the Italian Renaissance-styled building is an emblem of Venetian Republic. Having served many purposes throughout its lifetime—used by German trade merchants, then as a customs house for Napoleon and a post office for Mussolini—the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was granted "Monument" status in 1987. In 2008, the building was purchased by Italian fashion brand Benetton, who commissioned Rem Koolhaas to transform the space with its primary use being for retail. However, conservationists from Italia Nostra objected dubbing the Palazzo's proposal as a "megastore." In 2012, during the midst of the debacle, Benetton's spokesman Federico Sartor said: "A city with just museums will die. There is lots of culture in Venice but you cannot find a sandwich." Four years later, Benetton and OMA's plans have been scaled back to incorporate an artistic element, thus maintaining Venice's cultural pedigree. Opening the courtyard piazza and rooftop to pedestrians facilitates views down into the building and, more impressively, over Venice along the city's canals.
The most drastic intervention comes in the form of the structure's circulation. Timber-clad escalators rise up through the volumes, punctuating the space with their dark red coloration, seemingly an amplified reference to the pink hues found in the worn bricks of the interior. In order to encourage circulation to the building, new entrances from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto have been created, while the existing entrances into the courtyard have been retained for the locals. OMA created a new rooftop through the renovation of the existing 19th Century pavilion at the top and the addition of a large wooden terrace, which now offers spectacular views over the city. Both the rooftop and the central courtyard below will remain open to the public. "The transformation of the Fondaco is based on a finite number of local interventions and vertical distribution devices that support the new program structure a sequence of public spaces and paths, from the central courtyard to a new roof terrace overlooking the Canal Grande," said OMA. "Each intervention is conceived as a brutal excavation through the existing mass, liberating new perspectives and unveiling the real substance of the building to its visitors," they continued. "With an almost forensic attitude, each new component serves as a way to show the stratification of materials and construction techniques." As for the retail space itself, Jamie Fobert Architects from London will lead the design. The renovated building is due to open in October this year.
 
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Here’s every participant working on the Venice Biennale 2016

This year's Venice Architecture Biennale, titled Reporting from the Front, has unveiled its full list of participants. The 15th instalment of the Biennale, directed and curated by the man of the moment, Alejandro Aravena, will occupy venues along the Arsenale and the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. There will be work on display from 62 national pavilions, featuring five newcomers: Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Philippines, Seychelles, and Yemen. From this pool of nations, 50 architects will be taking to the Venetian stage for the first time. This year's event will also witness an infusion of youth never seen before with 33 of the featured architects being under 40—a first for the Biennale. “There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life," said Aravena. "This is what we would like people to come and see at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition: success stories worth to be told and exemplary cases worth to be shared where architecture did, is and will make a difference in those battles and frontiers.” Together, they will contribute work that addresses concurrent issues such as: segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration,  informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution, and the participation of communities. “It is not easy to achieve such a level of expansion and synthesis; they are battles that need to be fought," Aravena continued. "The always menacing scarcity of means, the ruthless constraints, the lack of time and urgencies of all kinds are a constant threat that explain why we so often fall short in delivering quality. The forces that shape the built environment are not necessarily amicable either: the greed and impatience of capital or the single mindedness and conservatism of the bureaucracy tend to produce banal, mediocre and dull built environments. These are the frontlines from which we would like different practitioners to report, sharing success stories and exemplary cases where architecture did, is and will make a difference.”

Here's the full list of participants:

Albania “I Have Left You the Mountain” Commissioners: Albanian Ministry of Culture. Curators: Simon Battisti, Leah Whitman-Salkin, Åbäke. Exhibitors: Etel Adnan, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Mourid Barghouti, Claire Fontaine, Yona Friedman, Anri Sala, Michael Taussig, Yanis Varoufakis, Ornela Vorpsi. Site: Arsenale

Argentina experimentAR - Poéticas desde la frontera Commissioners: Federico Gonzalez Perini. Curator: Atilio Pentimalli. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Armenia Independent Landscape Commissioners: Ministry of Culture, (Vartan Karapetian).Curator: Sarhat Petrosyan. Site: Chiesa di Santa Croce degli Armeni, Calle dei Armeni, San Marco 965

Australia The Pool – Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia Commissioners: Janet Holmes a Court AC. Curators: Amelia Holliday and Isabelle Toland (Aileen Sage Architects) with Michelle Tabet. Exhibitors: Conversations with Olympians Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe (Anna Funder and Christos Tsiolkas; musician Paul Kelly; environmentalist Tim Flannery; fashion designers Romance Was Born; and art curator Hetti Perkins). Site: Giardini

Austria Places for people Commissioners/Curator: Elk Elke Delugan-Meissl with Liquid Frontiers. Exhibitors: Caramel architects, EOOS, the next ENTERprise architects. Site: Giardini

Bahrain Commissioners: Sh. Mai Al Khalifa. Curators: Anne Holtrop e Noura Al Sayeh. Site: Arsenale

Belgium BRAVOURE Commissioners: Christoph Grafe, Director Flanders Architecture Institute. Curator: bravoure architecten de vylder vinck taillieu - doorzon interieur architecten - filip dujardin. Site: Giardini

Brazil Commissioners: Luis Terepins, Bienal de São Paulo Foundation.Curator: Washington Fajardo. Site: Giardini

Canada “EXTRACTION” Commissioners: Catherine Crowston, Art Gallery of Alberta. Curator: Pierre Bélanger, OPSYS. Exhibitors: OPSYS / RVTR. Site: Giardini

Chile Against the tide Commissioners: Cristóbal Molina (National Council of Culture and the Arts of Chile). Curators: Juan Román, José Luis Uribe. Exhibitors: Felipe Aranda, Ximena Cáceres, Claudio Castillo, Ximena Céspedes, Gabriel Garrido, Carolina Guerra, Juan Francisco Inostroza, Yasna Monsalve, Felipe Muñoz, Daniel Prieto, Javier Rodríguez, Jonnattan Silva, Carolina Solís, Tanya Vera, Cesar Verdugo. Site: Arsenale

China Daily Design, Daily Tao-Back to the ignored front Commissioners: China Arts & Entertainment Group (CAEG).Curator: Jingyu Liang. Exhibitors: Approach Architecture Studio, Drawing Architecture Studio (Han Li, Yan Hu), in+of architecture (Lu Wang), People’s Architecture Office (Zhe He, James Shen, Feng Zang), Run Atelier (Hao Wang, Man Ye), Qun Song, View Unlimited Lanscape Architecture Studio CUCD (Xie Xiaoying, Yan Tong, Haitao Huang, Qu Zhi), Wuyong (Ma Ke), Jingxiang Zhu (Unitinno+CUHK), Jing Zuo. Site: Arsenale

Czech Republic & Slovakia Care for Architecture: Exemplum of the Slovak National Gallery or Asking Arche of Architecture to Dance Commissioners: Monika Mitášová, Monika Palcová. Curators/Exhibitors: Benjamín Brádnanský, Petr Hájek, Vít Halada, Ján Studený, Marián Zervan (Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and University in Trnava). Site: Giardini

Côte d'Ivoire Live differently Commissioners: N’Guessan N’Dri Barthelemy. Curator: SOSSAH Francis. Exhibitors: Ministère de la construction et de l’urbanisme, Ministère de l’habitat et du logement social, Ministère de la culture et de la francophonie, Ordre des architectes, Ecole d’architecture d'Abidjan. Site: Palazzo Bembo e Palazzo Mora

Croatia “We Need It-We do it” Commissioners: Zlatko Hasanbegovic, PhD, Minister of culture; Ministry of Culture. Curator: Dinko Peracic. Exhibitors:Dinko Peracic, Slaven Tolj, Miranda Veljacic, Emina Višnic. Site: Arsenale

Denmark Commissioners: Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre. Curators: Boris Brorman Jensen and Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss. Exhibitors: 3XN; AART architects; Adept; AI; Anders Abraham & Christina Capetillo; Anders Peder Larsen; Andersen & Sigurdsson Architects; Arcgency; Arkitektfirmaet Merete Lind Mikkelsen; Arkitema Architects; BCVA Architecture; BIG; BO FROST architects; CEBRA; CF. Møller Architects;Christensen & Co architects; COBE; COLORCLOUDSTUDIO;DISSING+WEITLING architecture; Dorte Mandrup Architects; EFFEKT; ELKIÆR + EBBESKOV; Erik Brandt Dam architects; Erik Møller Architects; Force4; Frans Drewniak & Philip Rahm; Frederiksund Municipality; Friis & Moltke Architects Gottlieb Paludan Architects; Herzog de Meuron; JAJA architects; Jakob Knudsen; Jan Gehl; Jane Havshøj Architects; Jes Vagnby; JJW Architects; Johan Mottelson; Jonathan Meldgaard Houser; Junya Ishigami; Karlsson Arkitekter; KHR Arkitekter; Kim Loudrup; KRADS; Kristine Jensens Tegnestue; Lenschow & Pihlmann; LETH & GORI; LUMO Architects; Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects; Mathilde Petri Architects; Middelfart Municipality and Middelfart Wastewater Utility; Mikkelsen Architects; Møller & Grønborg; Nicolai Bo Andersen; NORD Architects Copenhagen; ONV Architects; POLYFORM; Powerhouse Company Copenhagen; Roskilde Municipality;  RUBOW Arkitekter; schmidt hammer lassen architects; SLA Architects; SLETH Architects; SNE architects; Spektrum Arkitekter; Svendborg Architects; THIRD NATURE; Toposfære IVS; TRANSFORM; Tyra Lea Amdisen Dokkedahl; URBAN AGENCY; Vandkunsten Architects; Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects; WE Architecture; Wienberg Architects and Frier Architecture; Schønherr; Henning Larsen Architects. Site: Giardini

Egypt ReframingBack/ImperativeConfrontations Commissioners: Ahmad Hilal. Curator: Ministero della Cultura. Exhibitors: Eslam Zenbaey, Luca Borlenghi, Gabriele Secchi, Mostafa Salim. Site: Giardini

Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania The Baltic Pavilion Commissioners Estonia: Raul Järg Commissioner Lettonia: Janis Dripe ( Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia) Commissioners Lithuania: Ona Lozuraité, Jonas Žukauskas. Curators: Karlis Berzinš, Jurga Daubaraite, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraityte, Niklavs Paegle, Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, Laila Zarina, Jonas Žukauskas. Exhibitors: Architekturos Fondas, Eesti Arhitektuurikeskus. Site: Palasport G.B. Gianquinto, Castello, Calle S. Biagio

Finland From Border to Home - Housing Solutions for Asylum Seekers Commissioners: Juulia Kauste Museum of Finnish Architecture. Curator: Marco Steinberg. Exhibitors: a team; Lindberg & Erdman; Society Lab with the participation of alt Architects; D.A.T. PANGEA + QUATORZE; Helsinki Kasbah Combine; Satoshi OHTAKI. Site: Giardini

France Nouvelles du Front, Nouvelles Richesses Commissioners: Institut Français, ministère de la culture et de la communication - direction générale des patrimoines.Curator: Frédéric Bonnet - OBRAS e AJAP 14 (PNG, Boidot & Robin, Studio 1984, Studiolada, Boris Bouchet, Claas architectes, R Architecture, NeM / Niney et Marca architectes). Site: Giardini

Germany Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country Commissioners: Peter Cachola Schmal, Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM). Curator: Oliver Elser, Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM). Exhibitors: Something Fantastic. Site: Giardini

Great Britain Home Economics Commissioners: Vicky Richardson. Curators: Shumi Bose, Jack Self, Finn Williams. Exhibitors: ÅYR, Pier Vittorio Aureli e Martino Tattara (Dogma) con Maria S. Giudicci (Black Square), Julia King, Jenna Sutela Hesselbrand. Site: Giardini

Greece “Challenging architecture on site of crisis” Commissioners: General Secretary of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment, Ms Eirini Klampatsea. Curators: SADAS-PEA (the Greek Architects Association).Exhibitor: SADAS-PEA (the Greek Architects Association). Site: Giardini

Hungary æctivators. Locally active architecture Commissioners: Júlia Fabényi. Curators: Gábor Fábián, Dénes Fajcsák. Exhibitor: Arkt. Site: Giardini

Iran Commissioners: Ministry of Road and Urban Development Hamed Mazaherian. Exhibitors: Saba Engineering Events Association. Site: Arsenale

Ireland Losing Myself Commissioners: Niall MacLaughlin. Curator: Yeoryia Manolopoulou. Exhibitor: Níall McLaughlin (Níall McLaughlin Architects). Site: Arsenale

Israel "A is for Architecture, B is for Biology" Commissioners: Arad Turgeman. Curators/Exhibitors: Ido Bachelet, Bnaya Bauer, Arielle Blonder, Yael Eylat Van-Essenn, Noy Lazarovich. Site: Giardini

Italy TAKING CARE – Progettare per il bene comune Commissioners: Federica Galloni, Direttore Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo. Curators: Simone Sfriso, team Curatorsale Massimo Lepore, Simone Sfriso, Raul Pantaleo TAMassociati. Site: Tese delle Vergini all’Arsenale

Japan beyond - SHARING Commissioners: The Japan Foundation. Curator: Yoshiyuki Yamana. Exhibitors: mnm (Mio Tsuneyama); ondesign (Osamu Nishida); Erika Nakagawa; Naruse Inokuma Architects (Jun Inokuma, Yuri Narus; Naka Architects’ Studio (Toshiharu Naka, Yuri Uno); Nousaku Architects (Fuminori Nousaku, Junpei Nousaku); miCo. (Mizuki Imamura, Isao Shinohara); Levi Architecture (Jun Nakagawa); Shingo Masuda+Katsuhisa Otsubo Architects (Shingo Masuda, Katsuhisa Otsubo); Koji Aoki Architects(Koji Aoki); 403architecture [dajiba] (Takuma Tsuji, Takeshi Hashimoto, Toru Yada); BUS (Satoru Ito, Kosuke Bando, Issei Suma); dot architects (Toshikatsu Ienari, Takeshi Shakushiro, Wataru Doi). Site: Giardini

Kazakhstan (New) Commissioners: Minister Muhamediuly Arystanbek.

Korea The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity Commissioners: Arts Council Korea. Curators/Exhibitors: Sung Hong KIM, Eungee CINN, Keehyun AHN, Seungbum KIM, Isak CHUNG, Daeun JEONG. Site: Giardini

Kuwait Between East and West, A Gulf Commissioners: NCCAL. Curators: Hamed Bukhamseen e Ali Karimi. Site: Arsenale

Luxembourg Tracing Transitions Commissioners: LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture, Andrea Rumpf. Curators/Exhibitors: Claude Ballini, Serge Ecker, Daniel Grünkranz, Panajota Panotopoulou. Site: Ca’ de Duca, Corte del Duca Sforza, San Marco 3052

Macedonia 
No Man’s land Commissioners: Ivanka Apostolova. Curator: Stojan Pavleski. Exhibitors: Stojan Paveski, Ivan Simeonov, Gjorgji Radovanovic e Ljupcho Tasevski.

Mexico Dispiegamenti e Assemblaggi  (Despliegues y ensambles) Commissioners: María Margarita Segarra Lagunes.Curator: Pablo Landa Ruiloba.Exhibitors:David Mora Torres, Valeria Prieto, Mariano Arias-Diez, Alejandro Suárez Pareyón, César Augusto Guerrero Rodríguez, Mariana Ordoñez Grajales, Jorge Andrade Narváez, Paloma Vera, João Boto Matos Caeiro, Javier Toscano Guerrero, Isadora Hastings, Melba Denisse García, Álvaro Lara Cruz, Juan Carlos de la Garza Madero, Juan José Santibañez, Luz Yazmin Viramontes, Juan Alfonso Garduño, Jesús Roberto Nuñez, Rodolfo Samperio, Alfredo Hidalgo Rasmussen, Daniel Filloy Ring, Juan M. Casillas Pintor, José Carlos Lavalle Alonzo, Alexa Mabel Pacheco, Carlos Hagerman, Jesús Álvarez, Lara Becerra, Betsaid M. Moreno Corona, Jorge A. Rivera, Aarón Gutiérrez, Raúl Cárdenas Osuna. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Montenegro Project Solana Ulcinj Commissioners: Dijana Vucinic Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Curators: Bart Lootsma, Katharina Weinberger. Exhibitors: ecoLogicStudio, London; LOLA, Rotterdam; LAAC, Innsbruck. Site: Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3079

Nigeria  (New) ‘Diminished Capacity’ Commissioners: Nkanta George Ufot (Ministry of Information and Culture). Curator: Camilla Boemio. Exhibitor: Ola-Dele Kuku.

New Zealand “Future Islands” Commissioners: Tony Van Raat. Curator: Charles Walker. Exhibitors: Kathy Waghorn, Jessica Barter, Stephen Brookbanks, Maggie Carroll, Bruce Ferguson, Minka Ip, Jonathan Rennie, Rewi Thompson. Site: Palazzo Bollani, Castello 3647

The Netherlands BLUE: Architecture of Peacekeeping Missions Commissioners: Het Nieuwe Instituut. Curator: Malkit Shoshan. Site: Giardini

Finland, Norway & Sweden In Therapy - Nordic Countries Face to Face Commissioners: ArkDes, The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (Sweden). Adjunct Commissioners: The Finnish Museum of Architecture (Finland) and Nasjonalmuseet (Norway). Curators: David Basulto, James Taylor-Foster. Site: Giardini

Perù "OUR AMAZON FRONTLINE" Commissioners: José Orrego. Curators: Sandra Barclay e Jean Pierre Crousse. Exhibitors: Ministero dell’Istruzione Peruviano, “Progetto Plan Selva” Capo Progetto Elizabeth Añaños e con Claudia Flores, Sebastian Cilloniz, Jose Luis Villanueva, Miguel Chavez, Gino Fernandez, Alvaro Echevarria, Alfonso Orbegoso, Luis Miguel Hadzich, Carlos Tamayo. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Phillipines (New) Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City Commissioners: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Felipe M. de Leon. Curator: Juan Paolo de la Cruz, Sudarshan Khadka Jr., Leandro Locsin (LVLP Partners). Site: European Cultural Center - Palazzo Mora, Strada Nuova 3659

Poland “Fair Building” Commissioners: Hanna Wróblewska. Curator: Dominika Janicka, in cooperation with Martyna Janicka and Michal Gdak. Site: Giardini

Portugal NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo Commissioners: Carlos Moura-Carvalho. Curator: Nuno Grande e Roberto Cremascoli. Exhibitor: Álvaro Siza Vieira. Site: Campo di Marte, Giudecca (tra Calle Mason e Calle Michelangelo Buonarroti – vaporetto: Zitelle)

Romania SELFIE AUTOMATON Commissioners: Attila Kim. Curator: Tiberiu Bucsa. Exhibitors: Tiberiu Bucsa, Orsolya Gal, Stathis Markopoulos, Adrian Arama, Oana Matei, Andrei Durloi. Site: Giardini e Nuova Galleria dell'Istituto Romeno di Venezia Palazzo Correr, Campo Santa Fosca, Cannaregio 2214

Russia V.D.N.H. Commissioners: Semen Mikhailovsky. Curator: Sergey Kuznetsov. Site: Giardini

Serbia HEROIC: Free Shipping Commissioners: Ivan Raskovic. Comitato Scientifico: Ljiljana Miletic Abramovic, Igor Maric, Aleksandar Bobic, Milan Ðuric, Vladimir Milenkovic, Vesna Cagic Miloševic, Maja Ciric. Exhibitors: Stefan Vasic, Ana Šulkic e Igor Sjeverac. Site: Giardini

Seychelles (New) Commissioners: Benjamin Rose. Curator: Andres Ramirez.

Singapore At The ‘Home Front’ Commissioners: Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council. Curator: Wong Yunn Chii, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Slovenia Home@Arsenale Commissioners: Matevž Celik, Museum of Architecture and Design, MAO. Curators: Aljoša Dekleva e Tina Gregoric (dekleva gregoric architects). Site: Arsenale

Spain UNFINISHED Commissioners: Iñaqui Carnicero + Carlos Quintans. Curator: Carnicero + Quintans. Exhibitors: Contemporary Spanish Architecture. Site: Giardini

Switzerland "Incidental Space” Commissioners: Sandi Paucic e Marianne Burki, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Curator: Sandra Oehy. Exhibitor: Christian Kerez. Site: Giardini

Thailand Class of 6.3 Commissioners: The Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture. Curator: Teeranuj Wongwaisayawan. Exhibitors: Pitupong Chaowakul, Chatpong Chuenrudeemol, Jeravej Hongsakul, Kanika R’Kul, Jun Sekino Chutayaves Sinthuphan, Suriya Umpansiriratana, Twitee Vajrabhaya, Varudh Varavarn. Site: Arsenale

Turkey Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel Commissioners: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). Curators: Feride Çiçekoglu, Mehmet Kütükçüoglu, Ertug Uçar. Exhibitors: Hüner Aldemir, Caner Bilgin, Hande Cigerli, Gökçen Erkiliç, Nazli Tümerdem, Yigit Yalgin. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

United Arab Emirates Transformations: The Emirati National House Commissioners: Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. Curator: Yasser Elsheshtawy. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

United States of America The Architectural Imagination Commissioners: Monica Ponce de Leon. Curators: Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon. Exhibitors: Marcelo López-Dinardi and V. Mitch McEwen, A(n) Office, Detroit, Michigan Kelly Bair and Kristy Balliet, BairBalliet, Chicago, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio, Greg Lynn, Greg Lynn FORM, Los Angeles, California Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, GeorgiaMarshall Brown, MARSHALL BROWN PROJECTS, Chicago, Illinois Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith, MOS Architects, New York, New York Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom, Pita & Bloom, Los Angeles, California Albert Pope and Jesús Vassallo, Present Future, Houston, Texas Preston Scott Cohen, Preston Scott Cohen Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts Stan Allen, SAA/Stan Allen Architect, New York, New York Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller, T+E+A+M, Ann Arbor, Michigan Andrew Zago and Laura Bouwman, Zago Architecture, Los Angeles, California. Site: Giardini

Yemen  (New) Beautiful Yemen Commissioners: Mr. Ayed Ali Al-Shawafy, Undersecretary for Cultural relations, Ministry of Culture, Yemen. Site: Arsenale

ull list of participants (via www.labiennale.org) 1. 51N4E (Brussels, Belgium) Freek Persyn; Johan Anrys 2. ADNBA (Bucharest, Romania) Andrei Serbescu; Adrian-Ioan Untaru 3. Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) Francisco Aires Mateus; Manuel Aires Mateus 4. Al Borde (Quito, Ecuador) David Barragán; Pascual Gangotena; Marialuisa Borja; Esteban Benavides 5. Alexander Brodsky (Moscow, Russia) 6. Alonso de Santos Estudio (Madrid, Spain) Francisco Alonso de Santos 7. Amateur Architecture Studio (Hangzhou, China) Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu 8. Anupama Kundoo Architects (Auroville, India) Anupama Kundoo 9. Architecture and Vision (Bomarzo - Viterbo, Italy) Arturo Vittori 10. Arno Brandlhuber + Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany) Arno Brandlhuber; Christopher Roth 11. Assemble (London, Great Britain) 12. Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo, Japan) Yoshiharu Tsukamoto; Momoyo Kaijima; Yoichi Tamai 13. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland) Peter Zumthor 14. Barozzi / Veiga (Barcelona, Spain) Alberto Veiga; Fabrizio Barozzi 15. Batlle i Roig Arquitectes (Barcelona, Spain) Enric Batlle; Joan Roig 16. BeL Sozietät für Architektur (Köln, Germany) Anne-Julchen Bernhardt; Jörg Leeser 17. Bernaskoni (Moscow, Russia) Boris Bernaskoni 18. Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) Philippe Block; Tom Van Mele WITH Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) John Ochsendorf; Matthew DeJong; Philippe Block AND WITH Escobedo Construction (Buda, Texas, USA) David Escobedo 19. C+S Architects (Treviso, Italy) Carlo Cappai; Maria Alessandra Segantini 20. Cadaval & Solà-Morales (Barcelona, Spain) Eduardo Cadaval; Clara Solà-Morales 21. Cecilia Puga (Santiago, Chile) 22. Christ & Gantenbein (Basil, Switzerland) Emanuel Christ; Christoph Gantenbein WITH Stefano Graziani 23. Christian Kerez Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland) Christian Kerez 24. David Chipperfield Architects (Berlin, Germany) David Chipperfield 25. designworkshop: sa (Durban, South Africa) Andrew Makin 26. El equipo Mazzanti - Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín, María Mazzanti (Bogotá, Colombia) Giancarlo Mazzanti 27. Ensamble Studio (Madrid, Spain) Antón García-Abril; Débora Mesa Molina 28. EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung (Hamburg, Germany) Michael Braungart 29. Estudi d'Arquitectura Toni Gironès (Barcelona, Spain) Toni Gironès 30. Estudio del Paisaje Teresa Moller & Asociados (Santiago, Chile) Teresa Moller 31. Film First (New York, USA) Gary Hustwit 32. Forensic Architecture (London, Great Britain) Eyal Weizman 33. G124 (Gruppo di lavoro del Senatore Renzo Piano) (Rome, Italy) Renzo Piano 34. Gabinete de Arquitectura (Asuncion, Paraguay) Solano Benítez; Gloria Cabral; Solanito Benítez 35. Grafton Architects (Dublin, Ireland) Yvonne Farrell; Shelley McNamara 36. Grupo EPM - Departamento de intervenciones urbanas sostenibles (Medellín, Colombia) Horacio Valencia 37. GrupoTalca (Talca, Chile) Martín del Solar; Rodrigo Sheward 38. Herzog & de Meuron (Basil, Switzerland) Jacques Herzog; Pierre de Meuron WITH Agav Films (Paris, France) Amos Gitai 39. Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects (Helsinki, Finland) Saija Hollmén; Jenni Reuter; Helena Sandman 40. Hugon Kowalski + Marcin Szczelina (Poznan, Poland) Hugon Kowalski; Marcin Szczelina; Klaudia Dopierala; Maria Dondajewska 41. Inês Lobo, Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal) Inês Lobo 42. Jiakun Architects (Chengdu, China) Liu Jiakun 43. João Luís Carrilho da Graça (Lisbon, Portugal) 44. José María Sánchez García (Madrid, Spain) 45. Kashef Chowdhury / Urbana (Dhaka, Bangladesh) Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury 46. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan) Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa 47. Kengo Kuma and Associates (Tokyo, Japan) Kengo Kuma 48. Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany) Francis Kéré 49. LAN (Paris, France) Umberto Napolitano; Benoît Jallon 50. Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica (South Africa) Luyanda Mpahlwa 51. M. Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo (Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy) 52. Manuel Herz Architects (Basil, Switzerland) Manuel Herz 53. Marte.Marte Architects (Weiler, Austria) Bernhard Marte; Stefan Marte 54. Matharoo Associates (Ahmedabad, India) Gurjit Singh Matharoo 55. menos é mais (Porto, Portugal) Francisco Viera de Campos; Cristina Guedes 56. NLÉ (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Kunlé Adeyemi 57. Norman Foster Foundation (Madrid, Spain) Norman Foster WITH Redline-EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) Jonathan Ledgard WITH Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) John Ochsendorf ; Matthew DeJong; Philippe Block WITH Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) Philippe Block; Tom Van Mele 58. OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Rem Koolhaas 59. ORG Permanent Modernity (Brussels, Belgium) Alexander D'Hooghe, Luk Peeters, Natalie Seys 60. Paulo David (Funchal, Portugal) 61. Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Concepcion, Chile) Mauricio Pezo; Sofía von Ellrichshausen 62. Rahul Mehrotra and Felipe Vera (Cambridge, Washington, USA) Rahul Mehrotra; Felipe Vera 63. Raphael Zuber (Chur, Switzerland) 64. Recetas Urbanas (Siviglia, Spain) Santiago Cirugeda 65. Renato Rizzi (Venice, Italy) 66. Robust Architecture Workshop (Colombo, Sri Lanka) Milinda Pathiraja 67. Rock Garden (Chandigarh, India) Anuj Saini 68. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (London, Great Britain) Richard Rogers; Graham Stirk; Ivan Harbour 69. Rural Studio, Auburn University (Newbern, Alabama, USA) Andrew Freear; Rusty Smith 70. Rural Urban Framework, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) Joshua Bolchover; John Lin 71. SAAS (Porto, Portugal) Samuel Gonçalves 72. School of Architecture, University of Waterloo (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) Robert Jan van Pelt; Anne Bordeleau; Sascha Hastings; Donald McKay 73. Simon Velez (Bogotá, Colombia) 74. Souto Moura - Arquitectos, S.A. (Porto, Portugal) Eduardo Souto de Moura 75. SPBR Arquitetos (São Paulo, Brazil) Angelo Bucci 76. Studio Anna Heringer (Laufen, Germany) Anna Heringer WITH Lehm Ton Erde Baukunst (Schlins, Austria) Martin Rauch WITH Architekturmuseum der TUM (Monaco, Germany) Andres Lepik 77. Studio Jaeeun-Choi (Tokyo, Japan) Shigeru Ban Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Jaeeun-Choi; Shigeru Ban 78. Studio Mumbai Architects (Mumbai, India) Bijoy Jain 79. Studio Snozzi (Locarno, Switzerland) Luigi Snozzi 80. Studio TAMassociati (Venice, Italy) Massimo Lepore; Raul Pantaleo; Simone Sfriso 81. Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (Osaka, Japan) Tadao Ando 82. Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico) Tatiana Bilbao WITH Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (Mexico City, Mexico) Rozana Montiel WITH Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico) Derek Dellekamp WITH Alejandro Hernández (Mexico City, Mexico) 83. Transsolar (Stuttgart, Germany) Matthias Schuler WITH Anja Thierfelder Freie Architektin (Stuttgart, Germany) Anja Thierfelder 84. TYIN tegnestue (Trondheim, Norway) Yashar Hanstad; Andreas Grønvedt Gjertsen 85. VAVStudio (Iran) Arash Aliabadi; Afshin Farzin; Saman Shamsbeki; Sakhi Shirmohammadi; Amin Tadjsoleiman 86. Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Hanoi, Vietnam) Vo Trong Nghia 87. Werner Sobek (Stuttgart, Germany) 88. ZAO / Standardarchitecture (Beijing, China) Zhang Ke
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Breaking: Alejandro Aravena Named Director of 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture

Its final. Alejandro Aravena has been named Director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The Chilean architect will have just 10 months to prepare the exhibition, which opens May 28. He follows David Chipperfield and Rem Koolhaas in directing the exhibition. Aravena is from Santiago, Chile, where he directs the firm ELEMENTAL S.A., a multi-disciplinary design office that works on projects in a range of scale. He is possibly best known for his Siamese Towers, and was named by Herzog + de Meuron as one of the Ordos 100. He has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. According to director Paolo Baratta,“After the important experimental Biennale developed by Rem Koolhaas, dedicated entirely to the curator’s research, it is our belief that we must follow up with a Biennale that convenes the architects, and is dedicated to the exploration of the new frontier that demonstrate the vitality of architecture, a frontier that spans across various parts of the world and shows architecture engaged in providing specific responses to specific demands. This Biennale intends to react once again to the gap between architecture and civil society, which in recent decades has transformed architecture into spectacle on the one hand, yet made it dispensable on the other. Among architects of the new generation, Alejandro Aravena is, in our opinion, the one who can best describe this reality and highlight its vitality. He continued, “The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be about focusing and learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition or both of them at the same time, are able to escape the status quo. We would like to present cases that, despite the difficulties, instead of resignation or bitterness, propose and do something. We would like to show that in the permanent debate about the quality of the built environment, there is not only need but also room for action”. Aravena said of the appointment, “There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life. This is what we would like people to come and see at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition: success stories worth to be told and exemplary cases worth to be shared where architecture did, is and will make a difference in those battles and frontiers”.  
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Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

peter-lang-biennale-02 [Editor's Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it's still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas' event here.] A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale. Miranda: O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5] (Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931) In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible. In all likelihood it didn’t start out this way. Koolhaas went about his business to remake the Biennale as did any major curator in the past, but Koolhaas is ambitious, and he set the stakes very high. To remake the Biennale, Koolhaas would need to dismantle the entire institution in order to rid it of its nearly century old infrastructure, complete with archaic “nationalist” pavilions, an array of inflexible labyrinthine spaces and gigantean maritime buildings, and a legacy of incredibly dated architectural categories. Koolhaas must at some point hit a frustrating impasse, compelling him to look for alternative best practices. It might have been around then that he hit upon the Tempest. The Tempest has an incredible allure for the kind of intellectual figure who won’t be compromised. The Shakespearean play itself lives on and on: it morphs continuously through time into an incredibly wondrous amalgam of human drama and personal transcendence. The Tempest is a malleable condition, and can double as a playbook for utopian practices, a manual for post-colonial discourse, or a stage for feverish fantasies. Prospero, the ex-Duke of Milan was a man of great vision and curiosity. While his methods may not be commonly practiced today, he would be of great inspiration to someone like Koolhaas who also faced insurmountable odds. Prospero ruled by sorcery, commanded over an army of slaves, spirits, half humans and fairies. His supernatural powers were based on his immense intellect, drawn from his great library in Milan of which a portion accompanied him in his escape from the city. His strongest affections are reserved for his daughter, Miranda. But the most important cue Koolhaas probably takes from Prospero is dramaturgical, that all spectacle is one big illusion, and that the scenes and characters are but figments of one’s imagination. Prospero evokes the “stuff dreams are made on.” He reveals the insubstantial world of the theatrical craft, masking fiction from truth. Continue reading the rest of Peter Lang's essay here.