The 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, directed by David Chipperfield and titled Common Ground, closed on 25th November 2012 attracting 178,000 visitors. Please find below part three of our review by Gustavo Pernía. (You will find part one here and part two here.)
Exploring the links between timber and brickwork the Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey present Vessel, a wooden structure (passage, chamber and funnel) in raw dialogue with the layered brick construction of the site: the historic Arsenale, shipbuilding and archaic constructions reexamined.
A mold of Palladio’s Villa Rotunda is the center of a larger installation in which FAT architecture practice explore the concept of copying and transformation in architecture. Ines Weizman scrutinizes the ownership disputes regarding Adolf Loos’s Baker House design. An intricate yet fascinating copyrights thriller presented through diagrams and letters. San Rocco invites visitors to produce a library from other books photocopies. Architectural Doppelgängers presents a series of photographs of actual architectural copies facing their respective originals. A state-of-the-art installation.
The Torre David Gran Horizonte installation –Golden Lion for best project- by Urban Think Tank studio, shows a documentary and photographs about the abandoned office building that is occupied by inhabitants of the Caracas’ favelas. An ambiguous installation that showcase a typical restaurant that could be located in the vertical slum, lends itself to multiple, varied and contradictory readings. The controversy is served, the installation and the prize was disowned both by the government of Venezuela and the association of architects in that country (autonomous and ideologically opposed).
The Gaggiandre at the Arsenale, two docks built between 1568 and 1573 designed by Jacopo Sansovino flanked by arched walkways are the frame and inspirational source for the sculpture ‘Radix’ made by Portuguese architect Aires Mateus, an arch supported by three points and an imaginary fourth corner hanging over the Venitian Lagoon. A harmonic place to stay and rest where history, sensitivity, technology, culture and a certain affection to the site comes into the common ground that the biennale stands for.
Finally, special mention deserves MVRDV architects alongside The Why Factory with their ‘Freeland’ video-installation. It presents a refreshing idea of urban planning in which government agencies are put aside to make way for the self-organizing ability of individuals, which have a lot of freedom but are also responsible for supplying their own needs and grant certain urban values and community services.
Will we see the DIY urbanism in the near future?
Photo credits: Gustavo Pernía and Atanay Ramírez.
This is an article by David Report contributor Gustavo Pernía.