2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

6 Other National Pavilions

John Hill
22. May 2023
Germany Pavilion (Photo: Flavia Rossi)

In the Giardini: Austria

We start at the eastern end of the Giardini, across the canal on Sant'Elena, where the Austrian Pavilion focused on its attempt to connect to the adjacent community. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
As curated by AKT and Hermann Czech, Partecipazione / Beteiligung (Participation) divides the pavilion into two halves: one half a traditional gallery, seen here, and the other a “freely accessible meeting place” for the residents of Sant'Elena. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
The curators proposed building a bridge to temporarily connect the pavilion — situated at the north end of the Giardini on the island — to the community on the other side of the wall. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
As a commentary on the privatization of the Giardini and the encroachment of the Biennale on its neighbors, the proposal was rejected by the Biennale and other authorities involved; the partial construction in the pavilion's patio serves as a lookout and sign of what might have been. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)

In the Giardini: Germany

While the intervention in front of the German Pavilion — a new curving access ramp — is subtle, the interior is anything but, with scrap material from previous Biennales piled into the large central space: more a salvage operation than an architecture exhibition. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
Curated by the team of ARCH+ / SUMMACUMFEMMER / BÜRO JULIANE GREB, Open for Maintenance – Wegen Umbau geöffnet treats the German Pavilion not as an exhibition, but as “an action framework for a new building culture.” (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
The leftover materials from the more than 40 national pavilions in the 2022 Art Biennale sit in organized piles, ready for reuse by university students, crafts apprentices, and builders across Venice. (The pavilion also features a workshop, as seen in the photo at top.) If mined by the intended audience, the pavilion should be cleared of its clutter by the end of the Biennale in November. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
The piles of “spolia” had to contend with the large excavation of the pavilion's foundation — a “found” condition made by Maria Eichhorn in Relocating a Structure, her contribution for the 2022 Art Biennale. Perhaps Eichhorn's intervention, which also included tours of places in the city related to her contribution, inspired ARCH+ and the rest of the team to connect on social and infrastructural levels with the city outside the Giardini. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)

In the Giardini: United States

Two years ago, the US Pavilion was fronted by a large timber-frame construction in American Framing, but wood has given way to plastic in Everlasting Plastics. In front of the pavilion is Lauren Yeager's Longevity, which transforms everyday plastic items, such as Coleman coolers, into artistic totems. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Curators Tizziana Baldenebro and Lauren Leving contend they would rather illuminate and unsettle people's relationships with plastic, rather then make value judgments about them. But seeing the piles of foam and classically shaped trim mounted to the walls in Ang Li's Externalities, architects might be quick to judge. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
Norman Teague's Re+Prise explores how recycled plastic can be used in the creation of striking, surreal objects: Recalling traditional crafts, the designer used former bottles and other colorful plastics to make bulging baskets that fit nicely in the round central gallery. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
Xavi L. Aguirre's PROOFING: Resistant and Ready is a two-part installation, with one room containing quizzical modular constructions made from repurposed plastic objects, seen here, and the other room depicting their potential assembly through video, sound, and AR. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)
Simon Anton's This Will Kill ____ That grafts plastic flakes onto metal objects, turning familiar things into oddly appealing artworks. Somehow, the diverse selection of mainly artistic contributions congeals into a cohesive experience that should have visitors thinking of plastics differently than before. (Photo: Flavia Rossi)

In the Arsenale: Latvia

Latvia's presence in the Arsenale is small, but it is loaded with content. Taking the form of a small supermarket, the Latvian Pavilion was also one of the most crowded spaces I encountered during the vernissage, as if people's predilection to shop kicked in once they encountered it. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
T/C Latvija, curated by Uldis Jaunzems-Pētersons, displays 506 unique “products” from the last ten iterations of the Venice Architecture Biennale (Latvia's first presence was in 2002), reflecting the overwhelming choices we confront in our daily lives — and the overwhelming ideas and exhibits that visitors to the Biennale are subjected to. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The fake packages include descriptions of the national pavilions spanning twenty years, meaning visitors could spend hours reading them before voting for their favorites, which the “shoppers” are invited to do in an interactive game set up the curator and designers.  (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

In the Arsenale: Mexico

As crowded and lively as Latvia on my visit, but in a larger Arsenale venue, was the Mexican Pavilion, Utopian Infrastructure, an immersive space taking the form of a campesino basketball court. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
In Mexico's indigenous communites these courts are civic spaces, not just recreational spaces, so they are often accompanied by kiosks, stalls, tarps, and other elements to make them multifunctional; as curated by APRDELESP and Mariana Botey, the Mexican Pavilion does the same. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The campesino basketball courts date back to the 1930s; APRDELESP, who repurposed a court for the Biennale, sees the court as “the foundation unit of construction upon which indigenous utopias build cultures of resistance.” (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

In the Arsenale: Uzbekistan

The antithesis of the lively, bright, and colorful Latvian and Mexican pavilions can be found in the Uzbekistan Pavilion, Unbuild Together: Archaïsm vs. Modernity, located at the end of the Arsenale, which is dark, minimal, and poetic in its execution. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The large darkened space has been turned into a labyrinth with brick walls leading visitors to a central space; along the way are spotlights selectively illuminating the construction of the walls, which are made from recycled terracotta bricks from Venice as well as glazed enamel bricks made in Boukhara. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Curators Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty of Studio KO call their project “a sensitive architectural installation.” It was done with students from Ajou University in Tashkent and leads to a central open space with a film by El Mehdi Azzam projected onto one of the brick walls. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
A model of the wood mock-up made in Tashkent ahead the Biennale is located at the far end of the pavilion, allowing visitors who have exited the labyrinth to understand its layout. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Also at the end of the pavilion is a “Table of Relics” that features material samples and other artifacts from workshops the curators held with students in January in preparation for the immersive installation. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

Other articles in this category