The Venice Biennale of Architecture 2014

Full text by Stefano De Marzo. 
Photos courtesy of the Venice Biennale. 
Read full story on CASAS Magazine #211. 


In 2012, Venice began to break with star architects. Due to the proliferation of happenings, architecture biennials seemed increasingly to art. But that year he began the recovery of common ground and the gradual displacement of the presence of architects. It is time to move from star system to the architecture of everyday life, one that is able to change and improve the lives of people,” said David Chipperfield, the curator of the Biennale that year. In this edition, the rupture is complete.

“It is a biennial that will mark a before and an after,” says the architect Jose Orrego, curator of the Peruvian pavilion at the Venetian appointment. Rem Koolhaas has sought to shake the foundations of the modern.” For the architect Maya Ballen, the big difference is that previous curators, showing buildings, Koolhaas talks about architecture.”



Intervention OMA, Koolhaas directs the study, and Swarovski for Monditalia section.

Maybe there was not as important from the biennial 1980 At that time break, Paolo Portoghesi declared the birth of postmodernism. This time, it is clear disenchantment and reversion. Under the slogan “Fundamentals”, the biennial is divided into three parts: Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, Monditalia and Elements of Architecture.

The first is a kind of timeline where each country reflects on its evolution into a global architecture. Koolhaas‘s conclusion is that architects are intrusive into national narratives. Some of the most notable pavilions such as the United States, Bahrain, Spain, Mexico, or the honorable mentions of Russia, France and Canada challenged the influence of modernity and open debate on the future of the discipline of architecture.

For countries, review the last hundred years of architecture has been an important effort has been installed previously developed research, such as the Peruvian flag,” says Ballen.


Research projects Radical Pedagogies” (above) and “Italian Limes” (below).

On the other hand, is Monditalia shows featuring modernity through Italy through the disciplines that comprise the various biennials in Venice (dance, art, film, music, theater). Finally, the third part is Elements of Architecture, for many the heart and highlight of the biennial. An exhibition that examines fifteen architectural elements (doors, windows, corridors, balconies, toilets, etc.) and explores patterns of evolution. The idea is part of an investigation that Koolhaas himself has developed from his book “Delirious New York“.

“These are the tools that architects use every day and, precisely for that everyday, we stopped rethink” says Ballen to highlight its importance.

According to Sharif Kahatt, curator of the Peruvian sample in Venice, this biennial has marked the way to understand the discipline for the future. This biennial also has been different for her six-month-until November-and dialogue with other arts, which seeks to ensure that activities remain in force until the last day.

Koolhaas has brought to the fore two aspects almost forgotten by many architects: research (theoretical and historical reflection) and the importance of technique (constructive and technological development) as drivers of change in architectural thinking,” he says.



The flag of Chile was influenced by pink color.

Golden Lion for Best National Participation was for Korea with its flag Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula“. Meanwhile, the Silver Lion went to Chile, an award is not surprising claim by popular architect and urban housing proposal live in the southern neighbor. The pavilion “Monolith Controversiesrevolves around the story of a factory prefabricated panels donated by the Soviet Union in 1972 after the earthquake a year ago, and served to build public housing. Thus, the awards provide a range of ideas that he wanted to convey Koolhaas. The Dutch architect wants to return to the foundations of the discipline. Want to explore the details and stories that have built societies through their buildings. This is a biennial that delves into archival research aims to reconstruct the history and to shape the future.

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