29 Jul Biennale Postcards #1 – Walls & Identities
The vernissage razzmatazz has faded. The Biennale Architettura 2018 is underway and it’s ageing well.
In the stillness of a midsummer afternoon, FORMA explored the national pavilions investigating the creation of boundaries and enclosures.
Germany – Unbuilding Walls
After last Biennale’s excellent exhibition on the domestic “arrival cities” of new immigrants, Germany has broadened the research beyond domestic boundaries through the analysis of the single most powerful architectural symbol of separation.
A black wall that morphs into a pattern of standalone panels welcomes the visitors of the central hall. The simple but effective layout of projects behind it embraces the critical period between the post-Soviet 1990’s and the contemporary migratory landscapes. Special mention to the researches on the abandoned “new towns” of East Germany and Checkpoint Charlie.
An echo chamber of mirrors resonates in the two lateral rooms. Looping videos with tales of cross-border humanity – from Cyprus to Israel via Korea – overlap without losing sharpness.
Probably the best pavilion in the Giardini. It is worth a long visit. Bonus: a deconstructed tote bag.
Germany Pavilion – “Unbuilding Walls”
Uruguay – Prison to Prison
Two adjoining prisons. Unit 6 and Unit 1, Punta de Rieles.
The former is a hub of buildings where inmates are encouraged to live and work as if they were inhabiting a village, albeit behind barbed walls. The latter is an hyper-technologic, segmented and geometric surveillance machine for almost 2,000 low and medium dangerous male inmates.
The two diametrically opposed systems have been explored by sociologists, architects and academics in the graphically enticing catalogue and in the videos and installations of the pavilion.
Uruguay Pavilion – Entrance
Brasil – Muros de Ar
Barriers are intrinsic in the urban fabric of Brazilian larger cities but subtler, intangible spatial segregations are widespread in rural areas too. Where is the limit of ghettoization and what are the analytical tools that can be used by architects to overcome it?
Various answers are offered by the clean and elegant pavilion of the South American superpower, and the curatorial team has dedicated a section of its website to bottom-up contributions to the mapping of favelas.
© Bienal São Paulo
In the second batch of Biennale Postcards we will focus on the pavilions that addressed the evolution of public spaces in contemporary cities.