The Vatican in Venice
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.