Remember I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I spent an entire day practically alone a the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016? Even though it was AUGUST and the city was practically overflowing with tourists from every nook and cranny on the planet? I know – what a shame! You don’t have to be an architect or even an architecture lover to go to the Biennale. In fact, you can enjoy the Venice Architecture Biennale on many different levels. I decided to see it as basically an amusement park for grown-ups. Not because I’m dumb or something, but because I was on vacation and wanted to take it easy for a change! Anyhow, this is part two of my gripping story (here’s the link to part one) – and it has tons of hoity toity eye candy for you to feast on. Nom nom nom!
Let’s start with Russia. Not exactly a very popular country at the moment here in the Netherlands. And let’s face it – even decades after the Rooskies have sworn off communism, they still have a penchant for adoring dictatorial leaders. Still, back in the days of the USSR at least they had a sense of style, don’t you think? Case in point: the VDNH exhibition complex in Moscow. It all looks mildly attractive if you do a Google image search like I did just now. But aside from the pieces on display at the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, I can tell you cross my heart and hope to die stick a thousand needles in your eye that that will be all the VDNH I will see in real life – because I’m pretty darn sure I’ll never ever ever set foot in the homophobic sh*thole that is Russia at the moment.
On to the Dutch pavilion. To my surprise, the place was totally covered Christo-style (remember that?) in blue fabric. BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions explores architecture’s potential to improve the quality of the built environment, and the lives of the people within it, by critically examining its own role in missions and frontiers.
On the Biennale’s second location – the Arsenale. Did you know it was once the largest pre-industrial production centre of the world? Well, neither did I! In any case, it was a stunning location for an exhibition and it made me feel like a kid at an amusement park. Except of course all the attractions at the Venice Architecture Biennale were all kind of hoity toity eye candy. Just take a look at the extremely gimmicky entrance created by Alejandro Aravena out of 90 tonnes of waste. I’m sure you can enjoy an installation like this on many different levels. But by the time I got there, my head was sort of full and I decided to look at it as just a very, very pretty pretty. So sue me.
I went camping once when I was fifteen years old. It was not a great success. I slept in a leaky tent in a field near a farm and took a dump in a toilet that wouldn’t flush. Never again. The Rural Urban Framework huts I saw at the Arsenale looked pretty cool though.
This model looked so incredibly cool. I must have spent a good fifteen minutes taking in every detail. What I forgot to do, however, is read the explanation. Thank Goddess I saved the Venice Architecture Biennale booklet so that I could look up what it was I was drooling over – the Matrex building in Skolkovo, Russia!
With their concrete blocks, Marte.Marte sits very comfortably in the grey area between architecture and art.
Four million. That’s how many homes Germany needs to build to house all its new immigrants. With a truly massive model called NEUBAU, BeL Sozietät shows four speculative self-build cities. Mind. Blown. Truly.
An arch in compression with a tension tie makes more efficient use of material than a beam in bending. That’s what I learned just now when I read more about Beyond Bending by the Block Research Group.
ALL OF THE LIGHTS!!! Yup – another gimmicky installation that got everyone in an Instagram frenzy. But let’s face it – the crepusculare rays that made up the Transsolar lightscapes looked ever so cool.
By the time I arrived at Paulo David’s Oberservation Shelter, my mind was in total visual overload and all I could think was: Oh look, a giant floating nut! Silly me.
This Aequilibrium suspended red walkway by C+S Architects would have been perfect for rollerskating, don’t you think?
After the red walkway, I have to admit everything at the Venice Architecture Biennale became a big blur. My camera’s battery started running low and frankly, so was mine. I did manage to take some pictures of Studio Mumbai’s golden cage before I mustered my very last bit of energy and climbed the stairs to see the amazing Turkish pavilion – Erdogan douze points! Although the name of the exhibition – Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel, is a bit too similar to an infamous internet meme or my…eeeh…taste, I have to say it was a matching grand finale to an amazing day.