Posted Aug 6 2021 | By Giovanna Celeghin

Venice Architecture Biennale 2021: How will we live together?

The Architecture Biennale has been missed, being moved one year due to the pandemic. I was lucky to visit it in June with two of my best mates from university, including the curator of one of the rooms in the central pavilion at the Giardini from Studio Viganò, who gave us a brilliant report of the backstage works and editorial tour.

Despite some inevitable criticism (listen to Olly Wainwright at the Londown), the projects and the points of view were well worth facing the scorching day in Venice and delving into the exhibits at the Arsenal and Giardini, whose architecture itself remains a timeless statement every edition. I appreciated when simple ideas where embraced and illustrated well. I would like to share a selection of my personal favourites below.

  • Alison Brooks, Home Ground: an elegant display of exploded models exploring how the architecture is grounded to the earth and relates to the sky.
  • Enlace Arquitectura, La Palomera: the spaces in between are isolated and suspended to allow visitors to appreciate the public realm design in relation to the steep site topography.
  • Marko Brajovic, Amphibious life: an intricate analysis of how life has evolved to adapt between water and land, and how design can be informed by nature.
  • Belgian pavilion, Composite Presence: a “capriccio” of built and unbuilt buildings that won national competitions, arranged in a fictitious urban layout (pictured below) – all 1:15 scale.
  • US pavilion, American Framing: well-designed timber frame gallery juxtaposed to the historic pavilion and thoroughly documented by stunning images and models. I love how the rhythm resonates with Sverre Fehn pavilion next door (pictured above).
  • Nordic pavilion, What we share: 1:1 project of a communal house that you can actually inhabit – but take your shoes off first.
  • Russian pavilion, Transformation Project: celebration of the restoration project of the pavilion itself. The process is documented by a beautiful set of sketches that connect the building with the city of Venice and the Lagoon.
  • Michele De Lucchi, Venice Pavilion: a retrospective on De Lucchi beautiful tactile sculptural projects and workshop sketches, infused by his poetic view of architecture.

I think that these pavilions and images will spark some new ideas and debates in our work too.