The Swiss Pavilion Takes You on a Mind-Bending House Tour Unlike Any Other

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Svizzera 240: House Tour at the Venice Biennale invites visitors to enter an Alice in Wonderland-like environment where different scales force you to reconsider contemporary housing.

The Swiss Pavilion in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale—named Svizzera 240: House Tour for the average ceiling height in Switzerland—offers viewers a different perspective on the unfurnished interiors of contemporary housing. It does this by celebrating a peculiar form of architectural representation, the house tour, inviting guests to actually become "tourists" and examine the generic, empty spaces representative of readily available modern rentals. The exhibit offers a meandering, eye-level view into an apartment interior, leading visitors through a landscape that continuously shifts in scale—much like a real-life Alice in Wonderland experience.

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Visitors are invited to take a house tour—but not of a real house. 

Visitors are invited to take a house tour—but not of a real house. 

Svizzera 240: House Tour is the work of a team of young of architects from ETH Zurich—Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg, and Ani Vihervaara—and was awarded the Golden Lion for the best national participation at the official opening of the 16th International Architecture Biennale in Venice. Scroll through for a look inside.

The generic, contemporary interiors feature white walls, skirting board, wood or tile flooring, and off-the-shelf components and fittings. 

The generic, contemporary interiors feature white walls, skirting board, wood or tile flooring, and off-the-shelf components and fittings. 

The interior scenes are constructed at a range of different scales and spliced together, creating a labyrinthine sequence of interior perspectives.

The interior scenes are constructed at a range of different scales and spliced together, creating a labyrinthine sequence of interior perspectives.

In preparing the "home tour," the curatorial team referenced a vast archive of unfurnished interior photographs from the websites of Swiss architecture offices. 

In preparing the "home tour," the curatorial team referenced a vast archive of unfurnished interior photographs from the websites of Swiss architecture offices. 

The construction of the installation adheres more to the principles of the image of an apartment than those of an actual apartment. 

The construction of the installation adheres more to the principles of the image of an apartment than those of an actual apartment. 

The image's inability to convey scale, dimension, depth or spatial adjacency is presented to the viewer in built form. 

The image's inability to convey scale, dimension, depth or spatial adjacency is presented to the viewer in built form. 

"You enter an impossible dwelling," explain the architects. "On this tour, you are no longer an apartment dweller, builder, or buyer—nor are you an academic, or even an architect—you become an entirely new architectural subject, a house tourist."

"You enter an impossible dwelling," explain the architects. "On this tour, you are no longer an apartment dweller, builder, or buyer—nor are you an academic, or even an architect—you become an entirely new architectural subject, a house tourist."

The Swiss Pavilion Takes You on a Mind-Bending House Tour Unlike Any Other - Photo 8 of 8 -

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 opened to the public on May 26th and continues until November 25th, 2018.