Koolhaas to Mastermind 2014 Venice Biennale

International
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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Rem Koolhaas. (Jori Klein)

Rem Koolhaas. (Jori Klein)

Rem Koolhaas has been named director of the 2014 Venice Biennale, the 14th edition of the architecture exhibition. Koolhaas, a leading thinker and persistent provocateur in the discipline, succeeds David Chipperfield. “The Architecture Exhibitions of the Biennale have gradually grown in importance internationally,” said Biennale President Paolo Baratta in a statement. “Rem Koolhaas, one of the most significant personalities among the architects of our time—who has based all his work on intense research, now renowned celebrity—has accepted to engage himself in yet another research and, why not, rethinking.”

Chipperfield’s exhibition, called Common Ground, which sought to identify continuities across cultures, time periods, and architectural approaches, divided critics. Koolhaas will take a different approach: “We want to take a fresh look at the fundamental elements of architecture—used by any architect, anywhere, anytime—to see if we can discover something new about architecture.”

 

Finding Common Ground at the Venice Biennale: Practice What You Preach, Mr. Prix

International
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
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Wolf Prix. (Elfie Semotan)

Wolf Prix. (Elfie Semotan)

“Venice Architecture Biennale ‘cannot get any worse’ says Wolf D. Prix,” read the headline on Dezeen’s August 30 wire post. In a press release titled “The Banal,” Prix declared that that architects participating in the biennale are “playing” while the profession is “sinking into powerlessness and irrelevance” at the hands of politicians, bureaucrats, and investors.

The broadside caused a stir in Venice during he opening and in the blogosphere but now it appears that Prix was never in Venice for the biennale in the first place and thus had not seen the exhibition he denounced. His office claims that Prix has been misunderstood and “the critique addressed the theme of the exhibition, not the show or its execution,” according to a spokesperson for the firm.

Continue reading after the jump.

Protesting for Pussy Riot at the Venice Biennale

Other
Friday, August 31, 2012
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Protesters at the Venice Biennale.

Protesters at the Venice Biennale.

The Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale has in recent years been a bit of a snore. The space has been filled most recently in 2010 with unconvincing drawings of older Russian cities and earlier (2008) with models of Ordos McMansions. But this year the pavilion’s interior was spectacularly reconfigured with walls of glass QR codes in its central space forming a digital dome, but the display’s heavy-handedness brought to mind earlier periods of Russian single mindedness and even totalitarianism.

It seems those in charge of this year’s Venice effort finally realized what kind of pavilion makes an impact in the giardini on harried biennale visitors and journalists and went for the full design monty. But the tensions in contemporary Russian society were also highlighted on Thursday during the Golden Lion awards presentation ceremony when a few hundred feet away a crew of cocktail-dressed and balaclava-wearing young Russian women “occupied” the exterior of the pavilion to make the case for the Pussy Riot band back in Russia recently jailed for hooliganism.

A rumor quickly spread that actual members of the band who had escaped Russie were present at the protest. Were these actually Pussy Rioters or sympathizers? No one was sure but it sure beat listening to the Biennale directors and bureaucrats drone on about Common Ground as the press rushed over from the dreadful press conference.

Fine Feathers? Artists Paint Venice Pigeons Vibrant Colors

International
Thursday, August 30, 2012
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"Pigeon Safari" by Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismark. (Courtesy the artists)

“Pigeon Safari” by Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismark. (Courtesy the artists)

Between glass curtain walls and art installations, birds just can’t catch a break. For their Venice Architecture Biennale project Pigeon Safari Swiss artist Julian Charrière and German photographer Julius von Bismark captured, airbrushed, then released the pigeons of St. Mark’s Square. The resulting rainbow-colored flock has caused Biennale-goers and tourists alike to do a double take. Charrière told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, “Pigeons make up part of our urban landscape, but we view them as though they are an unrecognizable mass, whereas each one has its own identity.” While a newly teal pigeon may imagine itself a peacock, conservationists expressed concern that the birds’ unusual colors would deter mating.

Golden Lions Awarded Amid Divisive Venice Biennale

International
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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Torre David / Gran Horizonte, 2012, Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner), Justin McGuirk. (Francesco Galli/Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia)

Torre David / Gran Horizonte, 2012, Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner), Justin McGuirk. (Francesco Galli/Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia)

It’s been a hot and highly stimulating few days at the Venice Biennale. David Chipperfield’s theme, “Common Ground,” which sought to establish connections across architecture culture, has proven surprising divisive. Some loved the elegant progression of projects in the Arsenale, which included everything from expressionist displays by Zaha Hadid, to neo-postmodern confections by FAT, to a hand built house by Anupama Kundoo, all of which managed to mingle thanks to Chipperfield’s tasteful curation.

Some formalists griped that the show was regressive, while more socially engaged architects thought it too estheticizing. Still, every Biennale must crown its winners. This year’s Golden Lion for the international exhibition went to Torre David/Gran Horizante by Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg and Herbert Klumpner) and Justin McGuirk, an investigation, featuring photography by Iwan Baan, of an informal community built in an abandoned, unfinished skyscraper in Caracas. The team created an bar inside the Arsenale which featured food, music, drinks, and neon lights to showcase their work and transform the atmosphere of the overall exhibition.

Continue reading after the jump.

Special Coverage from the 2012 Venice Biennale, Issue 2

International
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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The Architect’s Newspaper is on the ground in Italy for the 2012 Venice Biennale. Here’s the second edition of a three-part series on the best of the Biennale, brought to you by The Architect’s Newspaperand Il Giornale Dell’Architettura. (View the first issue here.)

Filed Under: 

People In Glass Houses Should Have Fresh Flowers

East, National
Monday, August 27, 2012
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Philip Johnson and David Whitney. (Courtesy Glass House)

Philip Johnson and David Whitney. (Courtesy Glass House)

Director Henry Urbach just announced a program that will reintroduce fresh flowers into Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House in New Canaan, CT, where they’ve been missing seen since Johnson and his partner, David Whitney, passed away in 2005. The arrangements will be created by local designer Dana Worlock, using Whitney’s original plant selection and archival photographs of the home’s interior as inspiration.

Meanwhile, AN is participating in this week’s Glass House Conversations about themes in this year’s Venice Biennale, especially the relationship between critical compliance as espoused by David Chipperfield and Spontaneous Intervention and as featured in the U.S. Pavilion. Share your thoughts through September 2nd.

The Glass House
199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840
Open Thursday-Monday, 9:30a.m-5:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $30.

Download Your Guide to the Venice Biennale

International
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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With the official grand opening of the Venice Biennale set for Wednesday, August 29, following a two-day preview, it’s time to start planning your visit with the only comprehensive guide to the Who, What, and Where of the Biennale. Download your own copy to keep on hand or look for the guide to be printed in the first issue of Guida alla Biennale di Architettura, a partnership between The Architect’s Newspaper and Il Giornale Dell’Architettura.

Join AN for a Glass House Conversation.  Join AN for a Glass House Conversation Inspired by our upcoming trip to the Venice Architecture Biennale and the entry for the U.S. Pavilion, AN is hosting a convo on the Glass House Conversations site today through September 2. Talk to us about ways of affecting change in the built environment—are you an advocate of spontaneous intervention? Critical compliance within the established system? And what do these terms mean to you? (Just to stir the pot, we’re using a debate format.) Weigh in with your examples and opinions!

 

Zaha Hadid Reveals a Pleated Vision for the Venice Biennale

International
Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Before the 2012 Venice Biennale opens on August 29, Zaha Hadid Architects has released its own preview of the firm’s pavilion to be displayed at the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice. The pavilion will be one of 66 projects in the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale, entitled Common Ground.

Check out the amazing video after the jump.

On the Ground in Venice, An Update on the 13th Biennale of Architecture

International
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Former AN Associate Editor Jaffer Kolb in Venice.

Former AN Associate Editor Jaffer Kolb in Venice.

In the cafe of the wonderfully elegant Palazzo Cà Giustinian on Venice‘s Grand Canal I had a chance to catch up with former AN associate editor Jaffer Kolb. Kolb has gone on to bigger and better projects and is currently the man on the ground in Venice for David Chipperfield as they prepare for the 13th Biennale of Architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

Álvaro Siza Wins The Golden Lion

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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Álvaro Siza Vieira to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement . (Courtesy Álvaro Siza office)

Álvaro Siza Vieira to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement . (Courtesy Álvaro Siza office)

Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The announcement was made today by Biennale board director Paolo Baratta and director David Chipperfield, who noted Siza’s authority on designing with bold forms, shaping light, and creating reflective compositions. “Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigor. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us. While his work exudes the security of judgment, it is clearly intensified through cautious reflection. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance,” Baratta and Chipperfield said in a statement.

View a gallery of Siza’s work after the jump.

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