The Venice Biennale Festival
The Venice architecture biennale 2012 is well underway with design enthusiasts, architects, artists, engineers and writers creating a steady stream of eager visitors to Arsenale the Giardini della Biennale in the beautiful Castello region of Venice.
The Biennale of Architecture is relatively young and was born out of the Art Biennale in 1980 when after a few years of trying different programs the Architecture Biennale has taken on the same form as the Art Biennale. This means each participating country displays the best of its design concepts and architectural talent in individual pavilions, for the world to see.
The British Pavillion was originally designed to be a café restaurant in 1887 by engineer Enrico Trevisana but was transformed into an exhibition space in 1909 and eventually taken over by the British Council who are now responsible for organizing and representing British art and design in Venice. The British Pavillion itself takes on the appearance of a miniature palace, the wide marble steps flagged by two luscious green trees that seem to beckon visitors inside. It is hard not to get carried away in a city like Venice though, which appears to float on the gleaming water like a box of long lost treasure that had risen to the surface only for a short while. Thousands of visitors flock to Venice every year and it is hardly surprising that the city was chosen to host the Biennale all those years ago for what better place could exist for a show of the arts than one which is saturated with art and architecture itself?
This year of course the prolific architect David Chipperfield who designed such clean and crisp works of art such as the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery and the Turner Contemporary in Margate, will be curating the Biennale with the chosen theme of ‘Common Ground’ running throughout. The theme is designed to create a dialogue between the past and present and to reinstate ideas of architecture in communities, the history we have in common, the common goals we share and common dilemmas we face. Chipperfield believes that it is we, the people, who are at the center of architecture and wants the theme to explore the meeting of our differences and the acceptance of our differences. He is interested in how architecture can contribute to defining the common grounds in our cities and the places where mind and matter can meet. The theme raises some relevant issues in the current climate and seems to encourage a sense of unity where architects and the public can work together to solve problems in the community.
Written by our guest blogger Isabel Moseley.