Text Cesare Cunaccia
The sixteenth Architecture Biennial outlines a vivid mapping of the restless era in which we live. Architecture as the main debate and the pivot of the Zeigeist, through a curatorial choice – that of the Irish Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara – a rigorous one yes, but also a luminous and veined with humor choice. A free, very free conceptually one. It bears the emblematic title of Freespace – with all that follows, starting from a significant mantra: «Freespace represents the generosity of spirit and the sense of humanity that architecture places at the center of its agenda, focusing its attention on space quality». Unlike the many deadly and dissolutionary omens that pass through the art of today, here the emphasis is given to an energy and confidence that opens up the future and the ability of the thought of architecture to satisfy unexpressed desires and dreamy drives and to emphasise the gifts offered by nature.
Hot heat and Ferragostan sun. And if now the worldly temperature seems inevitable, it is skyrocketing even in this branché event, once the prerogative of the only insiders, still rage the old birkenstocks with sock – cleared also by fashionistas alas! – and strollers for acculturated infants who clog the solemn aisles of the Corderie and the entrance. Immersing yourself in the biennial tour you can embrace a happy imaginary freedom, projected between past, present and future, with an apparently not programmatic approach and of authentic even emotional exchange.
The Central Pavilion at the Gardens is beautiful, strong of a varied mosaic to which aces like Peter Zumthor, David Chipperfield and Odile Decq contribute, in addition to the homage to Caccia Dominioni, made by Cino Zucchi and the unsettling installation of the Chinese Amateur Studio. The idioms and the aesthetics cross each other through national choices. From the Helvetic Confederation, winner of the Golden Lion with Svizzera 240: House Tour, which celebrates the Calvinist promise of the unadorned and almost abstract image of an eternal domestic, indicating its theatrical counterpart, to the value of mediation and dialogue embodied by In Statu Quo. Structures of Negotiation, proposed by the Israel Pavilion up to the fantastic and compact blue Klein of the young Belgians of architecten de vylder vinck tallieu, who conquered the Silver Lion.
Special mention to the United Kingdom for Island – curators Caruso St Joh Architect and Marcus Taylor, who wanted a shelter or exiled Eden on the terraced roof of the pavilion, hidden by scaffolding and left empty and full of echoes, creating a meeting place and a view of Venice, the Gardens and the area of Sant’Elena, completely unusual and estranging. Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to the British Kenneth Frampton and still a Golden Lion for the best participant, to the Portuguese Eduardo Soto de Moura, to the Corderie dell’Arsenale as the Mozarab-pop art by Benedetta Tagliabue Miralles and to Andra Matin, Indonesia, other special prize with RMA Architects of Mumbai and Boston.