The Vatican in Venice

 John Hill
1. June 2018
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects
One of the highlights of this year's Venice Architecture Biennale is the first Holy See Pavilion. Curated by Francesco Dal Co, Vatican Chapels consists of ten chapels and an exhibition pavilion location on a wooded corner of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
In a Biennale full of photographs, models, and drawings, it's refreshing to encounter actual buildings, albeit small ones. With architects selected by Professor Dal Co – and their realization enabled by manufacturers and contractors they paired up with – the chapels are a diverse lot, positioned to stand alone among the trees. Free of the constraints of any dialogue between chapels, each design focuses on form, materials, and light – the last coming from above in sometimes unexpected ways.

The Vatican's contribution to the Biennale was inspired by Gunnar Asplund's famous Woodland Chapel at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm. In turn, an eleventh building, designed by Italy's MAP Studio, is devoted to Asplund's drawings. The chapels and pavilion are shown below in the order of the site plan – a numbered tour of a must-see architecture exhibit.
Site plan (Drawing via Vatican Chapels)

Andrew Berman - 1

Andrew Berman (USA) wtih Moretti, Terna
Andrew Berman (USA) wtih Moretti, Terna

Francesco Cellini - 2

Francesco Cellini (Italy) with Panariagroup
Francesco Cellini (Italy) with Panariagroup

Javier Corvalán - 3

Javier Corvalán (Paraguay) witth Simeon
Javier Corvalán (Paraguay) witth Simeon

Ricardo Flores & Eva Prats - 4

Ricardo Flores & Eva Prats (Spain) with Saint-Gobain Italia
Ricardo Flores & Eva Prats (Spain) with Saint-Gobain Italia

Norman Foster - 5

Norman Foster (UK) with Maeg, Tecno, Terna
Norman Foster (UK) with Maeg, Tecno, Terna

Terunobu Fujimori - 6

Terunobu Fujimori (Japan) with Barth Interni, LignoAlp
Terunobu Fujimori (Japan) with Barth Interni, LignoAlp

Sean Godsell - 7

Sean Godsell (Australia) with Maeg, Zintek
Sean Godsell (Australia) with Maeg, Zintek

Carla Juaçaba - 8

Carla Juaçaba (Brazil) with Secco Sistemi

Smiljan Radic - 9

Smiljan Radic (Chile) with Moretti, Saint-Gobain Italia
Smiljan Radic (Chile) with Moretti, Saint-Gobain Italia

Eduardo Souto de Moura - 10

Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal) with Laboratorio Morseletto
Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal) with Laboratorio Morseletto

Francesco Magnani & Traudy Pelzel - 11

Francesco Magnani & Traudy Pelzel (Italy) with Alpi
Francesco Magnani & Traudy Pelzel (Italy) with Alpi

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