When you enter the Giardini grounds, the Spanish pavilion is usually the pavilion where you start your visit. Hence, it often sets the scene for what you can expect from the Biennale.
The ‘Unfinished’ theme reveals the impact of the economic crisis on the architecture in Spain, where many buildings are only partially constructed and hence unfinished. In the last period of economic growth, construction was the driving force of the economy and large numbers of buildings were built in a short period of time. The lack of reflection over whether these projects were necessary or valid resulted in the subsequent abandonment of many buildings when their completion or maintenance was no longer economically viable.
The Spanish pavilion wants to reflect on this situation and stimulate a discussion on how to move from past ruins to future opportunities. It will invite the public to actively explore different projects and think about them as potential tools for change. The exhibition will present recent responses from architects to this economic and construction crisis in Spain and includes 7 photographic series, 55 projects, 12 selected entries from the open competition, and 10 interviews. The projects have been selected from an open call, which resulted in 550 submissions. These examples have resulted in new architectures which have been able to adapt to new economic, social and environmental demands.
The Spanish team will also organize several activities such as lectures, workshops for students of architecture, colloquiums, discussions and presentations. At the same time, they also want to include people who do not visit the Biennale in their discussions. The have developed a website, where information on the projects will be available, in line with the information available in the pavilion in the Giardini.
“The exhibition gathers examples of architecture produced during the past few years, born out of renunciation and economy of means, designed to evolve and adapt to future necessities and trusting in the beauty conferred by the passage of time. These projects have understood the lessons of the recent past and consider architecture to be something unfinished, in a constant state of evolution and truly in the service of humanity. The current moment of uncertainty in our profession makes its consideration here especially relevant.”
Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns, curators
More information on the projects can be found on the website of Unfinished. If you want to discover how curator Iñaqui Carnicero thinks about architecture, you can read his essay in the book ‘The language of architecture’.
At the opening ceremony of the Architecture Biennale on May 28, the Spanish pavilion received the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. The motivation of the jury mentions “a concisely curated selection of emerging architects whose work shows how creativity and commitment can transcend material constraints”.
Review by The Venice Insider
Being the winner of the Golden Lion puts an additional pressure on the Spanish team. Every visitor enters the pavilion with very high expectations. After my visit, I can say that I agree with the jury and the prize is well deserved. Large pictures from different projects are framed in wood and attached to metal structures. This layout refers to a construction site, and the combination of different heights even resembles a city skyline. It is quite impressive. The beautiful pictures invite you to read the details about the projects, so you could easily spend a lot of time in here. Spain is one of the pavilions that successfully translated the ‘Reporting from the Front’ theme into a beautiful layout, with the right level of information to make it interesting without getting boring. Spain 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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