Venice Biennale: National Pavilions 2

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September 7, 2010

As promised, here is the second part of our grand tour through the national pavilions at the 2010 Venice Biennale. Sejima forecasted well - the strongest crowd-pleasers were not the ones that displayed a rote show-and-tell gallery of their country's own pride-and-joy architects, but of single, strong concepts manifested in forms that interacted with the visitor. For those who might not have made it to Venice, we invite you to peruse (part 1 can be found here) and meet the architecture for yourself.

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  Greece constructed an ark, called "Old Seeds for New Cultures," as the body of a transportable seed bank. A small kitchen area was also installed inside the 24-foot-long piece, where visitors could poke their noses into various nutritional seeds and therapeutic plants in glass jars, buckets, and plates.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Greece constructed an ark, called "Old Seeds for New Cultures," as the body of a transportable seed bank. A small kitchen area was also installed inside the 24-foot-long piece, where visitors could poke their noses into various nutritional seeds and therapeutic plants in glass jars, buckets, and plates.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Entirely draped in various types of scaffolding, the Austrian pavilion—appropriately titled 'Under Construction'—was centered around the theme of the nation's architectural exports and imports. The design work of international architects building in Austria is displayed on the spiral scaffolding inside the pavilion (shown here); the design work of Austrian architects is "seated" in the "Audience of Objects" on the bleacher-like scaffolding outside. It was the first time it was curated by a foreign architect, Eric Owen Moss.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Entirely draped in various types of scaffolding, the Austrian pavilion—appropriately titled 'Under Construction'—was centered around the theme of the nation's architectural exports and imports. The design work of international architects building in Austria is displayed on the spiral scaffolding inside the pavilion (shown here); the design work of Austrian architects is "seated" in the "Audience of Objects" on the bleacher-like scaffolding outside. It was the first time it was curated by a foreign architect, Eric Owen Moss.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  One of my personal favorites, the Romanian Pavilion "1:1" was an ethereal white shell inside of a white shell. Designed for one person to enter at a time, the 1012-square-foot interior space literally represented the amount of space per person in Bucharest. This family took advantage of the emptiness for a photoshoot, and I took advantage of one of three exterior peepholes for a photoshoot of their photoshoot.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    One of my personal favorites, the Romanian Pavilion "1:1" was an ethereal white shell inside of a white shell. Designed for one person to enter at a time, the 1012-square-foot interior space literally represented the amount of space per person in Bucharest. This family took advantage of the emptiness for a photoshoot, and I took advantage of one of three exterior peepholes for a photoshoot of their photoshoot.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Egypt's gilded history was re-envisioned through "The Search for Salvation," a sculpture made of bent steel ribbings and saturated with gold paint, curated by Dr. Ahmed Mito.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Egypt's gilded history was re-envisioned through "The Search for Salvation," a sculpture made of bent steel ribbings and saturated with gold paint, curated by Dr. Ahmed Mito.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The host country's pavilion, 'Ailati: Reflections from the Future,' took an expansive yet interestingly self-critical approach to the current state of building in Italy. Noting a proliferation of poor-quality and resource-consuming construction in Italy, the exhibit showcases four generations of Italian architects and researchers that are pushing architecture's increasingly interdisciplinary boundaries, especially in an era of crisis.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The host country's pavilion, 'Ailati: Reflections from the Future,' took an expansive yet interestingly self-critical approach to the current state of building in Italy. Noting a proliferation of poor-quality and resource-consuming construction in Italy, the exhibit showcases four generations of Italian architects and researchers that are pushing architecture's increasingly interdisciplinary boundaries, especially in an era of crisis.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Macedonia presented a collection of impressive student projects, based on a series of abstract form-finding studies. The theme for this one was to first draw a two-dimensional diagram of three people using three spaces and one common space, then to extrapolate it into a 3D shape modeled in foam.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Macedonia presented a collection of impressive student projects, based on a series of abstract form-finding studies. The theme for this one was to first draw a two-dimensional diagram of three people using three spaces and one common space, then to extrapolate it into a 3D shape modeled in foam.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  A stark collection of abstruse entities, the Belgian pavilion aims to show a new way of looking at the phases of construction materials, especially during 'the time when the material is subjected to use.' The Rotor collective gathered these pieces throughout Belgium, then fragmented them in their states of mild wear and deterioration. This is perhaps a poetic and topical way to frame a random collection of old objects.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    A stark collection of abstruse entities, the Belgian pavilion aims to show a new way of looking at the phases of construction materials, especially during 'the time when the material is subjected to use.' The Rotor collective gathered these pieces throughout Belgium, then fragmented them in their states of mild wear and deterioration. This is perhaps a poetic and topical way to frame a random collection of old objects.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Curated by Rietveld Landscape, 'Vacant NL—Where Architecture Meets Ideas' throws the potential of temporarily unoccupied buildings all over the Netherlands into the spotlight.  Diverse building typologies, conditions of use, and their geographic locations were all catalogued and proposed for new spaces to push forward Netherlands' creative economy.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Curated by Rietveld Landscape, 'Vacant NL—Where Architecture Meets Ideas' throws the potential of temporarily unoccupied buildings all over the Netherlands into the spotlight.  Diverse building typologies, conditions of use, and their geographic locations were all catalogued and proposed for new spaces to push forward Netherlands' creative economy.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  From above and below, the blue foam models of these unused Dutch buildings form a beautiful landscape suspended in mid-air.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    From above and below, the blue foam models of these unused Dutch buildings form a beautiful landscape suspended in mid-air.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Poland's 'Emergency Exit' is an aggregation of metal birdcages, illuminated by fluorescent blue lights in a dark and dramatic smoke-filled room. Through this stacking, the concept is to reference abandoned buildings, uncertain in-between spaces, and those urban safety regulations for the protection against accidents. (Apparently, there was a series of participatory jumpers who leaped into an artificial cloud from the apex of the sculpture—ironically, seems like a bit of an eerie playground where one would probably meet not architecture, but some painful injury.)  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Poland's 'Emergency Exit' is an aggregation of metal birdcages, illuminated by fluorescent blue lights in a dark and dramatic smoke-filled room. Through this stacking, the concept is to reference abandoned buildings, uncertain in-between spaces, and those urban safety regulations for the protection against accidents. (Apparently, there was a series of participatory jumpers who leaped into an artificial cloud from the apex of the sculpture—ironically, seems like a bit of an eerie playground where one would probably meet not architecture, but some painful injury.)

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Spain displayed the prolific (albeit static) work of its architecture students with well-crafted models exploring prefabrication and videos about the process of building.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Spain displayed the prolific (albeit static) work of its architecture students with well-crafted models exploring prefabrication and videos about the process of building.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Under the rather engaging title, "Here for a Chinese Appointment," China constructed a deliberately derelict-feeling pavilion from rusting, stained metal planes. Juxtaposed against this harsh industrial environment was a flock of glass birds, delicately floating at the end of the path. Several tranquil landscape installations sat outside, created by notable architects Zhu Pei and artists Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Under the rather engaging title, "Here for a Chinese Appointment," China constructed a deliberately derelict-feeling pavilion from rusting, stained metal planes. Juxtaposed against this harsh industrial environment was a flock of glass birds, delicately floating at the end of the path. Several tranquil landscape installations sat outside, created by notable architects Zhu Pei and artists Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Serbia's pavilion was certainly one of the most playful, welcoming the visitor with seesaws and potted plants in a sun-drenched atrium, and impish poetry scrawled across the walls. The Skart collective designed the Plant-o-biles, and Ban Drvo produced the playground of seesaws. The overall concept was a perfect interpretation of Sejima's 'People Meet in Architecture' theme—no one cannot play on a seesaw alone.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Serbia's pavilion was certainly one of the most playful, welcoming the visitor with seesaws and potted plants in a sun-drenched atrium, and impish poetry scrawled across the walls. The Skart collective designed the Plant-o-biles, and Ban Drvo produced the playground of seesaws. The overall concept was a perfect interpretation of Sejima's 'People Meet in Architecture' theme—no one cannot play on a seesaw alone.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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