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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.