The 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, directed by David Chipperfield and titled Common Ground, closed on 25th November 2012 attracting 178,000 visitors. David Report sent Gustavo Pernía to make a selection of some of the most interesting installations. We have divided his report into three parts. Here’s the first one.

From Japan’s Pavilion

Japan pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale

Japan's pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale

Japanese pavilion

Toyo Ito brings together three young Japanese architects (Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Akihisa Hirata) to collaborate in the design a “Home-for-All” for people who lost everything in the city of Rikuzentakata because of the tsunami of 2011 in the north of Japan. Golden winning Lion for the Best National Participation, the project exudes humanity, is one of the clearest examples of real collaboration in the design process of a home. The result transcends disaster relief architecture and gives a glimpse of what could become an architecture that embodies the desires, user daily habits and a particular comprehension of the inner logic of a place through a professional method that is willing to dilute their personality and authorship to a minimum. A future and promising path for architecture.


From Germany’s Pavilion

The Germany pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

The German pavilion

The Germany’s pavilion focuses its Reduce/Reuse/Recycle impeccable installation on recent works in Germany that share a particular approach to Architecture as a Resource in times of austerity. A modest but intelligent intervention that invites us to rethink the concept of green architecture and the appreciation and care of relatively recent built heritage. A simple, clear and didactic installation, which is some relief in a biennial sometimes crowded by unprofitable information.


From Nordic’s Pavilion

Nordic pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

The Nordic pavilion

Venice Architecture Biennale

Venice Architecture Biennale - Nordic pavilion

Celebrating 50 years of the Nordic pavilion designed by Sverre Fehn, 32 young architects from Finland, Norway and Sweden expressed their ideas for a conceptual “Light House” that merges architectural character (site, material, tectonics, light) of the pavilion, the environmental/cultural character of the Nordic region and the core principles and techniques of every participant/practice. The featured models seek to evoke feelings, sensory experiences and concepts, rather than objectively describe reality. Openness, lightness, depth of experience, rest, emotional resonance, and ‘noble poverty’ comes to figure out the up-to-date assertion of an architecture identity in Nordic countries.


From Poland’s Pavilion

The Polish pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

“Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers” is a remarkable installation (Jury Special Mention) of the Polish Pavilion by the artist Katarzyna Krakowiak in which sound and space fuses into an intense atmosphere. Visitors walk near the walls, through the pavilion and experiment architecture in a rather different and peculiar way. All the sounds are live and internal to the pavilion, they have been amplified so visitors can listen, hear, eavesdrop and feel the building. It becomes a living thing, didactic, frightening and quite mysterious at the same time.

Photo credits: Gustavo Pernía and Atanay Ramírez.

This is an article by David Report contributor Gustavo Pernía. Stay tuned for the coming two parts of his Venice Architecture Biennale review.


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