venice biennale

World architecture... what's happening generally....

Venice Biennale

Postby Hugh » Thu Sep 16, 2004 7:53 pm

At least two of us on these forums were at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Any more out there? And if so, what thoughts? Good bits, bad bits?
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Postby alan d » Fri Sep 17, 2004 9:41 am

Good bit: Scotland being officially represented for the first time.
Bad bit: being stuck at the end, in the arse of the arsenale.

Good bit: the arsenale itself, wonderful exhibition space
Bad bit: exhibition of blobs and iconic architecture on displayed like a jewelers shop window.

Good bit: CJ Lim in the British Pavilion astounding draughtsmanship and model making
Bad bit: Richard Murphy's drum being representative of work in Scotland....a drum eh, who'd have thought it?
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Postby Hugh » Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:18 pm

Might not seem so, but the Blobbists are in retreat, compared with the last Biennale which was like fighting your way through a swarm of jellyfish. It's all relative.

- Scottish bit I felt was a bit hermetic - did not exactly pull your socks off. The design made it easy to pass by. Though I clocked your hotel there, Alan...deserved more prominence.

Denmark's "Too Perfect" show with its mad Utopian ideas was fun...

Japan's Manga Culture effort was entertaining nonsense...

Loved Germany's elevation of banal rurbania in one vast panorama of dullness-with-incidents...

And reckon Ireland's contribution - real resonant architecture by O'Donnell and Tuomey - was the best thing I saw.
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Postby alan d » Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:29 pm

If we're going to do it then we need to take it seriously, Scotland I mean.

You're right about our exhibition it was easy to pass but it was done for something else and just used also for the Biennale.

My heart sank when I saw the effort some countries had made, particularly Ireland. Shane O'Tool told me it cost 300,000 to complete, ours was a three times used 10,000 and it showed.

Thanks for the comments about the hotel, were in the official book with a good photograph and we're credited, so it's a start for us

Oh and I agree about the Japanese Pavilion, what that was about I don't know but it seemed to be absorbing Nigel Coates when I walked around, wearing a particularly stunning all in one white safari suit, looked like
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scotland @ the venice biennale

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:22 pm

Building reputations

GRANT GIBSON


THE VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE is as close as the industry gets to the Edinburgh Festival. Split into separate sites but centred around one theme, it is huge, unwieldy and, often, a bit patchy.

This year director Kurt W Forster’s concept was Metamorphosis, his notion being that architecture is going through a period of revolutionary shifts in thought that have already opened up unexpected perspectives. So in one half of the show, at the city’s Arsenale, Forster gets to play around with his ideas while, over at the Giardini, various nations from Argentina to Serbia and Montenegro via the US and Georgia attempt to interpret his intentions, while, at the same time, trying to outdo each other’s pavilions. While Forster’s Arsenale exhibition is well thought through and full of good intentions, it’s too big and one-paced to sustain attention. Inevitably, it’s at the Giardini where the real fun is to be had. It’s impossible not to try and spot national stereotypes. Will the German Pavilion be ruthlessly efficient? Actually no, it was rather inventive and very charming. Can the Japanese do anything other than kooky? Well, not on this evidence. Proceedings, as ever, were dominated by the enormous Italian Pavilion (again curated by Forster) which was by turns fascinating, irritating and completely incoherent. And the UK can be proud of its contribution. Curated by former Archigram member Peter Cook, the pavilion showed the eclecticism of contemporary British architecture, from the almost-austere minimalism of John Pawson to the joyous 1960s-inspired retro-futurism of Future Systems, and it even managed to deliver a dash of genuine wit into the bargain.

Throw into this potent brew some bizarre, substudent offerings, such as the Estonian section that showcased a bunch of outside toilets, including one inspired by the Trojan horse, and you begin to get a sense of the range of quality, as well as the breadth of budget, available to each nation at the show.

It’s in this context that Scotland’s first-ever stand-alone section has to be judged. There are two things to remember about Venice: you’ve got to make an immediate impression and there’s a lot of industry gossip. However, Scotland didn’t make a massive splash at the show. When I quizzed a couple of colleagues about their thoughts on the Scottish stand (situated, by the way, at the tail-end of the Arsenale and next to that horse-shaped outside loo) the reaction was identical: "There was a Scottish stand?" There can be no doubt that Scotland was dipping its toe in the water rather than diving in with a somersault and triple-pike.

At the Biennale the secret is not to try to show too much. Find a few of the best buildings or most interesting architects your country has to offer and concentrate on them. In the Scottish pavilion the balance is just about right. The temptation must have been to focus on the Scottish parliament - the most significant building to be finished in the UK in the past decade. However, it forms part of a much wider-ranging exhibition that roams across the post-devolution nation and pays no heed to budget or scale. Thus the tiny but beautiful Mount Stuart Visitor Centre on the Isle of Bute stands alongside the Radisson SAS in Glasgow.

This was a professionally put together exhibition. There might not have been any Japanese comic strips or outside toilets on display but Scotland should be (quietly) happy with its contribution to the Biennale.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:28 pm

Transformation and artifice: nations jostle for position at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale

Metapmorphosis. Transformation. That is the theme of the 9th International architectural exhibition that comprises the 2004 Venice Biennale. As usual, some play by the theme, and some don't. There is the usual wild variation of quality between the offerings of the national pavilions in the Giardini, and the usual punishingly huge but generally higher-quality international exhibition - designed this time with bird-cum-boat display stands by Asympote - in the ancient buildings of the Arsenale. All you can do is skim through a few times, and see what sticks in the mind, and what does not. This year, the force is with Ireland, while a sometimes superficial joie de vivre informs the offerings of nations such as Great Britain, Japan and Denmark, the United States is deeply forgettable, and Germany boldly tackles nowhere-land.

http://www.hughpearman.com/articles5/venice.html
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Postby alan d » Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:26 pm

yeah, quietly happy.....nothing really to shout about.

Still there's always the football
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Postby space_invader » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:22 am

embarrassing shite as far as i'm concerned. - the scotsman's comment rather than the actual scottish effort.

sometimes i don't get what scotland's psyche is all about.

just keep quiet and perhaps no one will notice we've gatecrashed the party.

scotland's presence at the biennale is like the ned who stumbles into a snobby do in a 'bought hoose' and ends up stonnin in a corner aw night trying tae nock sumdae's kerry oot.

was wondering:

did anyone raise eyebrows at scotland's inclusion?

can, next year, we expect to see Wallonie, Catalonia or al quaeda represented?
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Postby space_invader » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:24 am

for the record i've got it in my head the grant gibson piece was in the scotsman. is that the case?
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Postby alan d » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:51 am

Interesting point you raise S.I. forcefully put too. Did anyone raise an eye..well yes the British Council did. Took over two years to pull it off largely because the B.C. did not want Scotland to be represented as far as they were concerned it was to be British
( which means Londoncentric ) . We provisionally booked Scarpa's Querini Stampalia for a Scottish Exhibition two years before because the BC would not let us in to the official exhibition and Sudjic ( being a passionate supporter of Scottish Architecture ) as Director, in my view, was not interested.

We tried to raise money ourselves but were not supported at that time by the Scottish Executive, I think because it was politically sensitive and brought out the whole devolved, independent arguement again. So the whole thing colapsed.

This time we had an official invite from the Mayor of Venice, so that changed the matter.

My own view is that the scottish representative within the British Pavilion was a sop, to stop any further calls for Scotland to be officially represented. Interesting enough display but not really representative of the work in the Country, and another feckin broch in Edinburgh.

Funnily enough that is also the view of many of the architects I spoke to at the Bienalle

It depends if you see Scotland as a nation in itself, I guess.

Yes the article is from the Scotsman
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Postby space_invader » Thu Sep 23, 2004 1:41 pm

british pavilion: sop? maybe - mind you they bunged in kathryn findlay too - whose work i really really like by the way - but who knows how the people are chosen. buddies network i'd imagine.

scotland is one of the few countries in the world with a rock-solid brand. everyone knows us regardless of our constitutional status.

what bugged me most was the london-heavy weighting of cook's show. pathetic i say. london's 'black hole' effect is doing more damage to the cultural life of the UK than devolution ever could. why can't anyone be bothered to investigate anything anymore? has everything got to come off a familiar menu?

i think the scottish show could have worked quite well within a british pavillion actually. britain doesn't really sell it self very well any more. britain as an idea is actually really quite interesting and most advanced western countries are now divvi-ing themselves up in a manner not dissimilar to the uk. regional autonomy is the buzzword in international politics just now - again we should be leading the way except we all seem embarrassed about the state our 'kingdom' is in. (okay, bin the royalty, but Britain, weird conglomeration that it is, is okay with me)
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venice and architecture

Postby athinast » Sat Sep 25, 2004 2:38 pm

have anyone seen the greek pavillion?? whats your opinion?:cool:
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Postby sumatra » Fri Oct 08, 2004 1:43 am

one of the worst on the show
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Postby modular man » Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:58 am

I was impressed by Canadas pavillion.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Oct 08, 2004 3:12 pm

Originally posted by modular man
I was impressed by Canadas pavillion.


Montreal design firm Saucier + Perrotte Architects were selected as Canada's representative at the 2004 Venice Biennale in Architecture. The firm's recent projects include the First Nations Exhibition Pavillion at the Montreal Botanical Garden, the Grande bibliothèque du Québec, the Gérald-Godin College and the McGill Faculty of Music. Models of these and other projects will be presented as part of the exhibition in Venice.

They've done some nice work.
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Postby alan d » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:22 pm

First Nations Garden Pavilion is published in this month's Architectural Review................whole issue on Canada.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:42 pm

Architectural Review is 23 dollars an issue in a bookshop here... nuts money
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Postby sumatra » Sun Oct 10, 2004 6:24 pm

I think there are better buildings in Canada than Bibliotheque Nationalle. My personal opinion is that the new center for nanotechnology should've been presented instead of the "Bibliotheque"
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