From Border to Home
Finland has interpreted the theme ‘Reporting from the Front’ almost literally. Their ‘From Border to Home’ exhibition took the huge increase in asylum seekers in Finland as a starting point. The aim of the event in Venice is to challenge the view that the needs of asylum seekers excessively burden existing communities.
An architectural competition, with very tight deadlines due to the urgency of the situation, was launched in October 2015. The goal was to find solutions for the housing of asylum seekers, primarily during the period they await a formal decision on their claim. These architectural solutions should also support the social integration of the asylum seekers and offer a positive first experience of living in Finland. Early 2016, the jury selected 3 winners and 4 honourable mentions out of the 93 entries and presented them to the Finnish government.
The Finnish pavilion will host the competition challenge, process, and outcomes as a platform to advance the housing conversation. The exhibition will be supported by a series of events and the ‘From Border to Home Blog’, in which architects, curators and the general audience are invited to reflect, expand and socialize on this topic. The blog will be launched at the opening of the Biennale.
“Finland is tackling the question of housing asylum seekers: How do we provide housing on day one but in a way that puts people on a path towards an integrated, multicultural Europe. This is a question that touches us all, but one that is not being discussed much. Asylum seekers have been an “glass is half empty” issue; that they pose a threat to Europe. But we believe strongly that this is a “glass is half full” issue; that by challenging our current system the surge in migration is an opportunity to redesign a better society for all. Europe is in itself a story of migration, and it has always flourished when it’s been able to respond to it positively. Our ‘from Border to Home’ work has been presented to the Finnish government. At the Biennale we want to expand this discussion. Come to the Finnish pavilion to engage and hear how leaders of all walks are seizing this opportunity.”
Marco Steinberg, curator
More information on the competition is available on the website of the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
Review by The Venice Insider
The Finnish pavilion addresses the integration of refugees, in line with the ‘Reporting from the Front’ theme. Despite this heavy topic, the team succeeded in creating a homey atmosphere in their pavilion. They have for instance put doormats at the entrance and the exit. If this is the ‘From Border to Home’ feeling the refugees can expect in Finland, I’m sure they will immediately feel welcome. Several projects are illustrated on the walls with pictures and infographs. I personally liked the ‘Start with a roof’ project the most. Before you leave, you can stamp your brochure and create your own tagline. This is one of the fun things I mentioned in my post, which lists the exhibitions you shouldn’t miss at this Architecture Biennale. The exhibition continues on their blog, which gives you lots of insights behind the scenes. It’s always a pleasure to read it.
Katia – The Venice Insider
Click here to return to the overview of the other pavilions at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 or read my post What to expect from the 2016 Architecture Biennale.
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