Gonzalo Herrero Delicado & Maria José Marcos
Gonzalo Herrero Delicado (@GonzaloHerrero) and Maria José Marcos (@magicarch) are directors of DOT Agency for Architectural Affairs (@aaaadot), a agency for the diffusion of contemporary architecture through writings, curatorial projects and consultancy currently based in Madrid and Paris. Their writings have been published in a number of international medias including domus, Abitare and Neo2.
URBAN THINK TANK with Justin McGuirck & Iwan Baan
A singular team, consisting of Urban Think Tank, Iwan Baan and Justin McGuirk, has displayed a research project about the 'Torre David' located in Caracas, Venezuela. The particular history of this abandoned skyscraper is one of the objectives the authors wanted to relate in the exhibition. After the Caracas oil boom in 1990, and following the subsequent collapse of the Venezuelan economy, the skyscraper stood empty for twenty years. Then a large group of citizens, around 750 families, occupied and customized the tower in order to live in the unused space.
For this exhibition, placed in the Arsenale area that belongs to the main selection of the general curator David Chipperfield, the authors have created an event more than a static display in order to bear witness to the fact that the emergent movement of citizens to the Torre David is nowadays an example that the architecture is made by the people, not the opposite. The events in the pavilion were supported by a ephemeral bar that simulated the lively atmosphere of the occupied building. On offer were arepas and other typical Venezuelan foods. The change from the idea of a static exhibition to a 'social event' intensifies the critical aspects and focuses on the idea of Common Ground.
In this edition of the Biennale, the Japanese pavilion aims to make clear the real problems of the cities and population in the affected areas of Japan following last year's earthquake and tsunami disaster. The curator is renowned architect Toyo Ito, part of the think tank group 'kisyn-no-kai', which includes prominent architects such as Riken Yamamoto, Hiroshi Naito, Kengo Kuma and Kazuyo Sejima. The group is rethinking how to solve some of the catastrophic problems resulting from the dreadful natural disaster. The architects talked with the affected people, mainly from Sendai, trying to find a way to help with the reconstruction of the city and to improve the daily life of the community.
The pavilion displays the research commissioned by Toyo Ito, conducted by young architects Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Akihisa Hirata, along with the work of photographer Naoya Hatakeyama. It explains the results of this group research in creating a Minna-no-Ie - a 'Home-for-All', a place where people could feel like at home, meet, relax and talk about the future of their city. Furthermore, the current research to develop the project's second iteration in Rikuzentakata, in the form of dozens of study models for the project, is also on display. The Japanese Pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, and Toyo Ito shared the prize with all the people affected by the tsunami.
Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa commissioned the Spanish Pavilion, called SPAINLab. With it, they wanted to focus the theme of Common Ground on the topic of innovation and research through the work of seven Spanish teams. Each one of the teams has produced a unique piece related to their current work. SelgasCano arquitectos is one of the selected teams; with their proposal the architects attempt to explain their critical thinking and way of working through a complex display.
SelgasCano's installation is named Al Aire ('Between air'). They wanted to create a double debate: firstly, they reflect upon biological architecture, and their relationship with contemporary technologies. Secondly, with this seemingly floating system of hydroponics vegetation, they wanted to critique the idea of the loss of landscapes because of the uncontrolled territorial expansion. Established research they used to support this flying architecture is the NASA cultivation system - in outer space plants can be cultivated in spirals rather than horizontally. It is a real experimental project for the think tank that the Biennale is supposed to be.