The 2021 Venice Biennale is a cradle of solutions, all focusing on one open-ended question. How will we live together? This year’s biennale is the 17th architectural exhibition curated by the Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis. It was initiated on 22nd May 2021 and shall open its gate for stirring interactions up until 21st November 2021.

As a response to the thought-clinging theme of the event, hundreds of countries have collaborated to acquaint and explain 115 ways that paint a visual narrative as potential solutions for an inclusive world. One that is stitched together with freedom and hope. 

The Korean pavilion reimagines traditional schools, let us look through this curated experience to gain a perception of rethinking existing traditional paradigms.

Waving the Korean Flag

The Korean Pavilion, rightly named as the future school at the 2021 Venice Biennale, tremendously rebuilds the framework into an academic installation that emphasizes collaborative contemplation. The pavilion will be exhibited from May 22nd to November 21st, 2021 as one of the many highlights at the Giardini.

“A house, a well, and a garden—a shared space for gathering, learning, rest, and contemplation. This was the fundamental concept behind Future School’s occupation of the Korean Pavilion. This is not a space for consumption, but a space for living, for exchanges and for discussion.” — Hae-Won Shin, Curator of the Korean Pavilion

Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet1
A futuristic lens on traditional schooling _©Ugo Carmeni
Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet2
A tangible symphony of progressive ideas _©Ugo Carmeni

Purpose of the Pavilion

The Korean Pavilion; Future School is a thoughtful response to the pressing global issues such as climate change, migration, and the monotony of strained educational prototypes. It is a curated platform that can spur new interests, conversations and help users break out of the deeply embedded tedium. This exploration focuses on establishing multiple networks that transform the system by being a stimulus.

The vision of the pavilion is to launch a place with evolving learning methodologies. It is an attempt to produce integrated involvement revolving around the solutions pertaining to global issues. 

The school is indulgent with installations, insightful screenings, online workshops, eye-openers, roundtables, debates, discussions, and active studios full of life. It smudges the boundaries between private, public, and learning spaces. For instance, there are neat seatings for an experience of shared meals, ideas, and aspirations.

Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet3
A tangible symphony of progressive ideas _©Ugo Carmeni
Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet4
Liberating green spaces served through the transparency _©Ugo Carmeni
Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet5
Dedicated nuances that enhance a wholesome learning of survival skills as well Ft.the kitchen)_©Ugo Carmeni

A Tingling Composition of Materials

Textural experience and tactile experimentation is a significant factor in the user experience.

The Korean Pavilion imprints a phenomenal tangible experience through substantial materials that are highly contrasting.

The pavilion encloses a subtle space made of handmade Hanji paper floors that reflects the transition of an existing brick structure into a domestic volume, wholly inspired by the architecture of traditional Korean dwellings. The Hanji paper floored room has apsidal-shaped clerestory windows that act as punctures at a height, allowing light to dance its way within and make patterns. 

The kitchen enables the users to access drinking water and indulge in tea making utilizing the distinct pavilion pipes, further which the tea will be served in traditional Korean earthenware such as Jeju Onggi cups.

Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet6
Culturally minimal with white screens and paper flooring_©Ugo Carmeni
Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet7
Wide doors that allow the admission of ample amount of light_©Ugo Carmeni

Amidst the minimalism, wooden flooring, and white walls, one can notice a mild brown highlight as an attractive centerpiece. A circular floor designed by Landscape architect and artist, Ah-Yeon Kim. This deliberate differentiation of light brown amidst the wooden flooring is an exclusive congregation space built of dried reeds. 

There is a connection to a television screen at the central portion of the pavilion where most of the screening and discussions occur. The pronounced difference in textural experience can be observed as the user progresses towards the reeds from the wooden flooring. 

Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet8
A play of complimenting textures_©Ugo Carmeni

235 printed A4 tiles of Future school’s previous workshops lay neatly displayed on the “Process Wall”. This element strikes a conversation amongst the users and acts as an anchor from the past. Curved wooden walls holding hundreds of stories act as a stage for a play of black, white, and greys.

The roof has been designed with soft white screens hanging above in repeating concaves facing the floor, hence transforming the structure into a place owning a pliant clothed ceiling, roofing every user irrespective of their ethnicity or characteristics. This feature behaves as an inclusive metaphor to build an unbiased public space that brews community learnings.

The Faces Behind this Curation

Every successful project is a result of the efforts streamed in by multiple enthusiastic professionals. We have read through the layers of the space and the pavilion. Let us understand the faces behind it. 

This insightful project was commissioned by the Arts Council Korea(ARKO), meticulously curated by the Korean architect Hae-Won shin. Shin was awarded the Korea Young Architect Award in the year 2013. She participated in the 10th edition of the biennale and was acclaimed for her school of thought. 

Currently, she heads lokaldesign, an architecture firm based in Seoul.  She was accompanied by the deputy curator, Namwoo Bae along with assistants Ji Yoon Ahn and Eunjee Choe. The spatial design and analysis were handled by Ryul Song and Christian Schweitzer. 

Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet9
A representative logo of “Future school”_©http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210415000792
Korean Pavilion Reimagines Traditional Schools at the 2021 Venice Biennale Sheet10
Curator of the Korean Pavilion_©Hae Won Shin

The entire program includes 50 plus projects that are participating. They explore global issues such as the future of education, cooling urban environments, and innovative spatial experimentations that design inclusive spaces regardless of any constraints. 

As an overview, this team radiates a definite community spirit clearly translating their vision of the project through their diligent personalities.

References

1.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4d6e/f91c/81ce/da00/009e/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Facade_with_FS_Logo___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577054 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

2.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4daa/f91c/81ce/da00/00a0/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Process_Wall_by_Chris_Ro___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577114 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

3.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4d6c/f91c/813f/5800/007d/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Future_School_Kitchen_01___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577054 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

4.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4dc4/f91c/813f/5800/0081/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Work_Space___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577146 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

5.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4d77/f91c/813f/5800/007e/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Paper_Room___The_Korean_Pavilion_Office.jpg?1621577075 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

6.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4daf/f91c/813f/5800/0080/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Paper_Room_2___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577108 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

7.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4d49/f91c/81ce/da00/009d/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Exhibition_View___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577017 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

8.Carmeni, U. (2021). Korean Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Reimagines Traditional Schools. Available at: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/60a7/4d49/f91c/81ce/da00/009d/slideshow/2021_VB_The_Korean_Pavilion_Exhibition_View___Ugo_Carmeni.jpg?1621577017 [Accessed 27 May 2021].

9.http://www.koreaherald.com/ (2021). Korean Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale to shed light on global challenges, offer online lectures. Available at: http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2021/04/15/20210415000345_0.jpg [Accessed 27 May 2021].

10.Hae won shin (2021). Hae won shin. Available at: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1177815246418788359/X3UIt1EK_400x400.jpg [Accessed 27 May 2021].

Author

Vajjrashri Anand is an architecture student who reads places and people like a story worth being told. She believes architecture is a lot like life; made of wonder, beauty and hurt. She strives to constantly evolve. A nuisance, a delight. A sting, a smile. She's a soul hugging one word at a time.

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