Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country
Peter Cachola Schmal, Oliver Elser, Anna Scheuermann in collaboration with Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
The German team seems to succeed very well in translating the overall theme ‘Reporting from the front’ into a contemporary exhibition. ‘Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country’ focuses on the current problem of suitable housing for refugees, and questions how architecture and urban planning can contribute to this political and social issue. According to the team, Germany is not confronted with a refugee crisis, but with a housing crisis.
The question is not only about building temporary housing for the refugees. Many of them will stay in Germany and become the future German generations. They need permanent and affordable housing, as well as schools, hospitals, shops to build a new life. What are the challenges that the ‘arrival cities’ face and how can urban planning ensure that these newcomers become socially integrated citizens?
It is not the intention to bring ‘beautiful’ showcases from famous architects to Venice, but real examples and solutions. A call for projects has so far resulted in approx. 60 cases from all over Germany. One of the criteria was that these had to be as concrete as possible, so this will hopefully lead to a constantly ‘evolving’ exhibition in the German pavilion, as a lot can be done between now and the end of the Biennale in November.
The pavilion will not only be a place for exhibitions, but it will also include an installation that will highlight the current situation of the country. More details are kept secret, but they promise that it will be spectacular. The team is working with the creative studio Something Fantastic and with the magazine Bauwelt. The website makingheimat.de will constantly be updated with information on the 35 selected projects.
More information on the exhibition is also available in the book ‘Making Heimat, Germany: Arrival Country‘ from Oliver Elser.
Review by The Venice Insider
The German team has literally opened all doors and gates of the pavilion. This symbolizes their open attitude towards refugees. It certainly makes it a very spacious building. I have visited it many times beforehand and I never realized it was so large. The walls of the pavilion are covered with cheap posters with large slogans. These draw your attention immediately to the main issues that the arrival cities face. In addition, plastic chairs are spread all over the place and give it a very basic look. With this layout, the team really succeeds in making you feel like a refugee entering a temporary emergency hall. Once you start looking at the portraits and reading the stories of the refugee families, you get to the real heart of the exhibition. It is heartwarming and certainly worth your visit.
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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