Our Amazon Frontline
Sandra Barclay, Jean Pierre Crousse (Barclay & Crousse)
Sale d’Armi, Arsenale
For the world, the Amazon rainforest is the frontline where constant battles are being fought to preserve the greatest source of biodiversity, oxygen production and climate regulation of the planet. For the Peruvian team, the Amazon is also the battlefront between the ancestral vision of its inhabitants and the modern vision of western society and is a historically neglected area by the State.
The Peruvian pavilion will show how the ‘Plan Selva’ relies on architecture for a massive educational program, restores dignity to a population that was historically relegated and offers a space for the balanced encounter between two apparently irreconcilable worlds. This large-scale public program reconstructs and rebuilds hundreds of schools in isolated communities in the Peruvian Amazon. The schools are made out of wood and metal and are designed to be easily dismantled and adapted, depending on particular pedagogic requirements, topographical conditions and size of the communities. The result is a climatic-sensitive modular architecture, respectful to the Amazonian way of life.
The exhibition in the Arsenale will immerse the visitors in the Peruvian Amazon through visual elements that show the mystery of its inhabitants and the impenetrable lushness of the jungle. A ribbon printed with the faces of the Amazonian children (by Musuk Nolte), and the footprint of the jungle (the “Amazogramas” created by Roberto Huarcaya) will be suspended from a wooden canopy. There will also be tables and chairs from the Amazonian schools to reveal the precarious and harsh conditions in which teachers and students interact today.
“The Peruvian pavilion tells an unprecedented action for the balanced encounter between the Amazonian ancestral world and the modern western vision over this land. Longtime seen as a frontier to be conquered or a region to be kept untouched, Peru is fighting for the preservation of the amazon rainforest through education, empowering indigenous people to be the defenders of their own land. In this attempt, architecture is the frame for this major cultural shift.”
Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse, curators
At the opening ceremony of the Architecture Biennale on May 28, the pavilion of Peru received a Special Mention as National Participation. The jury thanks the team for “a bringing architecture to a remote corner of the world, making it both a venue for learning as well as a means for preserving the culture of the Amazon”.
Review by The Venice Insider
The Peruvian pavilion and the Amazon rainforest have a mystical power on the visitors of the Biennale. Taking the escalator to the upper floor of the Sale d’Armi brings you immediately in an exotic environment. The project Selva is explained in depth with texts, infographs and models, which are displayed on lecterns in the first part of the room. You can also (try to) build your own school with small wooden blocks, while listening to Peruvian music. In the second part of the room, you are immersed in an Amazonian school with school furniture hanging on cords and a video showing the children at school. Jean Pierre Crousse and Sandra Barclay succeeded very well in combining the overall theme with interesting information in a beautiful setting. Peru is one of my 3 favorite pavilions, so I can highly recommend you to visit 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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