The onset of a global pandemic has certainly helped accelerate the large-scale implementation of certain ideas and concepts about sustainable living. However, it has brought forth a set of fresh challenges for the Architectural community.

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition seeks the answer to a question that now seems to have a new meaning: How will we live together? The festival, lead by curator Hashim Sarkis, is looking for solutions that are optimal, practical, sustainable and also takes into consideration the future conditions which may be influenced by climate change, population explosion, depopulation, etc. Here are some precognitive exhibits that may pique your interest :

1. Danish Pavilion

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Danish Pavilion_Patricia Parinejad

Venice is an exhibition of the harmony between man and nature. It is also a testament to how nature can fulfill the ‘need’ and punish the ‘greed’ of human beings. “Con-nect-ed-ness” by the Denmark pavilion is a gentle reminder that nature will always emerge victorious and the sustenance of the human race can be assured only when we start identifying ourselves as being a part of it. The exhibit, curated by Marianne Krogh and Lundgaard and Tranberg Architects, has adapted the relationship between water and the built environment from its host city of Venice. It showcases a cyclic system of water that takes different shapes, forms, and characters along its journey through a sustainable living environment while leading the user’s mind into uncharted waters! 

2. Latvian Pavilion

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Latvian Pavilion_Dima Stouhi

Titled “It’s not for you! It’s for the building”, the Latvian Pavilion curated by the architecture office NRJA(No Rules Just Architecture) points out how machines and technology evoke mixed emotions among people. Technology has helped us navigate through the uncertainties and inconveniences of the “new normal”, but its growth from being a mere bonus, to an absolute necessity in Architecture and every other walk of life has increased fear and suspicion among its users. The exhibit is an encouragement for people to ride this wave so as to make the most of it. 

3. Estonian Pavilion

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Estonian Pavilion_Tonu Tunnel. Image Courtesy of The Estonian Centre for Architecture

Curators Jiří Tintěra, Garri Raagmaa, Kalle Vellevoog, Martin Pedanik, and Paulina Pähn are briefly directing our focus to the depressing visuals of ghost towns and gives valuable lessons on how to prevent such a scenario. Titled “Square! Positively Shrinking”, the exhibit addresses the issue of cities getting abandoned by people looking for better living conditions and opportunities. They draw attention to the importance of high-quality Architecture, especially while developing public spaces. This becomes even more relevant under circumstances of congestion in big cities and the unavailability of land for expansion. 

4. Italian Pavilion

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Italian Pavilion_Courtesy of Italian Pavilion(Archdaily)

Italy’s “Resilient Communities” is aiming for the extraordinary. With climate change rallying to the top of the priority list for reasons to innovate in Architecture, curator Alessandro Melis and the team shows us a glimpse of what the future has to offer. The exhibit is in the form of an interdisciplinary laboratory, exploring the role of Architecture in the event of a climate-related crisis. The output under these circumstances is desired to be sustainable with a focus on diversity and inclusiveness.

5. Japanese pavilion

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Japanese Pavilion_Dima Stouhi

“Co-ownership of action: Trajectories of Elements” demonstrates the advantages of reusing over consuming new goods and materials under the pretext of expansion. They do so by strategically and calculatedly dismantling an existing structure in Japan, with the intention of transporting the materials to Venice and creating a brand new structure with the help of a few additional resources. Here, a building and materials that were waiting to be dismantled and thrown away, have been given a renewed lifetime, thus avoiding wastage and fueling growth. 

6. Lithuanian Pavilion

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Lithuanian Pavilion_httpswww.dezeen.com202106042021-venice-architecture-biennale-pavilions-highlights

Jan Boelen, Julijonas Urbonas, and the Lithuanian Space Agency present an other-worldly experience in the form of “Planet of People”. The exhibit strips participants of their social, cultural, economic, political, and racial attributes. It allows one to mentally escape Earth through imagination and become part of another planet. The setup consists of a 3D scanner that helps create the simulation. This exercise is a stepping stone in the journey towards understanding the implications of space colonization. 

7. Great Britain Pavilion

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Great Britain Pavilion_Cristiano Corte(British Council)

“The Garden of Privatized Delights” by Madeleine Kessler and Manijeh Verghese aims to explore the concept of privatized public spaces by making public spaces an immersive experience and creating a sense of ownership within its users. A strong team of design collaborators has modeled the exhibit to its final form as a system of 7 sections, with each section aiming to address specific issues. These sections are: Garden square, Pub, High street, Youth center, Ministry for ownership of land, Ministry for ownership of data and finally, a public toilet. This initiative gains even more prominence under the current scenario of a global pandemic where social inequality is being highlighted even more.

The 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale will run from 22nd May 2021 to 21st November 2021. The Arsenale, Giardini central pavilion, and the City center of Venice are hosting the major exhibitions.

References

La Biennale di Venezia. (2019). Biennale Architettura 2021 | Homepage 2021. [online] Available at: https://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/2021

Magazine, W. (2021). Tour the 2021 National Pavilions at Venice Architecture Biennale. [online] Wallpaper*. Available at: https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/virtual-tour-2021-national-pavilions-venice-architecture-biennale.

The Architect’s Newspaper. (2021). Here’s what to see at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. [online] Available at: https://www.archpaper.com/2021/05/heres-what-to-see-at-the-2021-venice-architecture-biennale/.

Dezeen. (n.d.). Venice Architecture Biennial 2021 | Dezeen Events Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/eventsguide/2021/05/venice-architecture-biennale-2021/.

ArchDaily. (2021). Meet the Full List of the 60 National Pavilions at the Venice Biennale 2021. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/962010/meet-the-full-list-of-the-60-national-pavilions-at-the-venice-biennale-2021?ad_medium=widget&ad_name=navigation-next.

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). British Pavilion 2021: Inside The Garden of Delights. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWd0-yHDcvA [Accessed 19 Jul. 2021].

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Biennale Architettura 2021 – Sneak Peek: Lithuania. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN_2tCfMKl0 [Accessed 19 Jul. 2021].

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Biennale Architettura 2021 – Sneak Peek: Japan. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roQg8YMgWWI [Accessed 19 Jul. 2021]

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Biennale Architettura 2021 – Sneak Peek: Italy. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPqNG1CsWJU.

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Biennale Architettura 2021 – Sneak Peek: Estonia. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWIY7YEKVh0 [Accessed 19 Jul. 2021].

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Biennale Architettura 2021 – Sneak Peek: Latvia. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8HAYi4Rs3s&t=51s.

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). CONNECTEDNESS by the Danish Pavilion | Venice Architecture Biennale 2021. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7gIs6vjPIM.

Author

Avneeth Premarajan is a practicing Architect and an ardent “student” of Architecture. He is intrigued by concepts, ideas, philosophy, evolution and geography of design. He is more than willing to give up a few hours of day-dreaming to write about his thoughts.

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