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 two of our review by Gustavo Pernía. (You will find part one here).
From Central Pavilion
The installation The Banality of Good –paraphrasing Hanna Arendt – by Crimson Architectural Historians presents an analysis of the New Towns evolution, a sample of six cities built from the 50’s to the present, evidence the inversion and subversion of New Towns founding ideals of emancipation, social equality and progress, where values as the “just”, the “moral” or the “good” have been abandoned and replaced by process, profit, efficiency, and expediency. From providing housing to the poor to provide comfortable and isolated urban settlements for the rich, from the pursuit of common good to the satisfaction of the desires of the few who can afford it. A well-founded critic of the drift that has taken urban planning since the middle of last century to the present day.
The architect Juan Herreros materialize the theme of the biennale through large scale technical documents of constructive details, facade cross-sections and abstracted models of unmentioned projects, in order to illustrate his idea of Common Ground in current architectural practice, in which technique acts as amalgam of diverse disciplines and where the architect is no longer a conductor but a member of a multipolar, interdisciplinary team, also enriched by those who occupy and share the building. The dialogue architecture: a meeting of skills, abilities, and knowledge.
The OMA installation collects works of architecture by civil servants in five european countries driven by local authorities in the 1960s and 1970s. A mix of still modern and refreshing works made for the greater good, without personal ambitions, yet excellency in teamwork without figures, reminds us a different way of practice. A legacy made with common sense, rigor, control and optimism. A selection of humble masterpieces achieved by bureaucrats.
‘40,000 Hours’ is the estimated time that took the students to make this selection of models. Showcased as a tribute to the collective effort at schools of architecture around the world. Same material, similar dimensions, anonymous models made individually for different projects, lets us take a look at upcoming ideas and tactics of new architects and to the state of academic practice through diverse institutions.
Winner of the Silver Lion, this installation face large scale models of the Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s Serra Dourada Stadium in Brazil and Grafton Architects’ UTEC university campus in Lima. The influence that Brazilian Pritzker prize has had on the Irish architects is revealed by the researched subjects as “built geography”, “abstracted landscape”, “landscape and infrastructure,” and “the horizon and the human being” (suggestive comparison of the landscapes of Machu Picchu in Peru and Skellig Michael off the west coast of Ireland). It also explores the possibilities of the ‘Free Section’ as a representation and work resource for big scale projects that encourage fluid, generous, open and massive spaces.
Photo credits: Gustavo Pernía and Atanay Ramírez.
This is an article by David Report contributor Gustavo Pernía. Stay tuned for the coming third part of his Venice Architecture Biennale review.