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Reporting from the front
Venice architecture biennale 2016

The Venice architecture biennale 2016 stays under the sign of reporting about the crisis. It is interesting to see how different nations understand the crisis, between economic, ecologic, refugees, natural disasters, or even illness such as Alzheimer (Irland). Two locations, the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as a number of places in the city host it.

Biennale gardens, in the background the Hungarian pavillion
Maria Bostenaru 2016 / CC BY
Biennale gardens, in the background the Hungarian pavillion
La Biennale is dedicated every two years to architecture and this year Alejandro Aravena chose as motto "Reporting from the front".
Hosted by the Romanian Institute in Venice we had the occasion to visit the Biennale. Romania has a unique position, in the city and at the giardini (gardens) and this year was the first when the two exhibitions were designed by the same person. In the exhibition there was also a collection of models showing the unfair competition in quality architecture versus price by ADNBA, a Romanian office.
As we visited also the art biennale last year, in some cases it was clearly evident that the exhibition layout is different between the two topics, the architecture exhibition having also a more traditional part with text and drawings and posters as compared to art. Nevertheless, many pavillions were creative in scenography, and we give as example the digital fabrication in the Swiss pavillion at the giardini. This can be seen as part of a series of approaches on innovative structures, which was also present at the Arsenale.
The Golden Lion was won by the Spanish pavillion at the giardini on the topic "unfinished" pointing at the unifinished neighbourhoods in the country the building of which was stopped by the crisis after the bubble.
The economic crisis was topic of more pavillions at the giardini. As such, the Hungarian pavillion, in a Geza Maroti national style building, showed planning for free using donated resources in the vicinity of the house of Gardonyi Geza in the province city of Eger. The Serbian pavillion displayed a collection of stamped negative answers offering unpaid internships instead of jobs.
Also the Japanese pavillion was noteworthy.
The Australian pavillion was original displaying a pool of water and pointing the socialising character of it in their culture.
Israel thought of the ecologic crisis.
9th of July the Finish pavillion hosted a round table on refugees. Apart of Finnland this was the topic of more countries, such as Germany (the country of arrival) or Austria. Related was the Netherlands pavillion on peace diplomacy.
The UK pavillion showed the domestic space.
The Danish pavillion presented the livable city of Jan Gehl.
At the Arsenale Thailand showed reconstruction of schools after earthquakes.
14-15 July a conference on cities was held by the London School of Economics to bridge between urban planning and economics.
Several countries had pavillions in the city, dealing with islands (New Zealand) or living space (Luxemburg). Greece showed the creation of a game, which can be related to the Singapore pavillion at the giardini of the FAR (floor area ratio) game.

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17. Jul 2016
Reported by Maria BOSTENARU DAN


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