The Venice takeaway
This year the British Pavilion will be showcasing an impressive worldwide research project inspired by Chipperfield’s theme of ‘Common Ground.’ The British council requested architects to propose different places that would produce interesting research and inspire new ideas, bringing fresh ways of thinking into the UK about how great architecture is created. They chose just 10 proposals from the 118 that were submitted and members of those teams travelled to far flung places such as Rio da Janeiro, Moscow, Beijing, Los Angeles and Tokyo to share their ideas and cross new boundaries in research. The teams responded to Chipperfield’s brief by uncovering the links and common views between architects across the globe.
Aberrant Architecture were among the 10 selected by the British Council to present their research project and subsequently made several trips to Brazil this year to begin their exploration. After coming across a number of buildings that seemed to be of the same design, they discovered an interesting concept introduced to Brazil in 1980 by Leonel Brizola, Darcy Ribeiro and Oscar Niemeyer which aimed to produce a sequence of high quality, uniform primary schools, also dubbed CIEPS (integrated centers of public education). These standardized builds were conceived to support and enhance education in Brazil by reducing costs and therefore making the schools accessible for all children. Through this experimental school building program there are now 508 CIEPS all over Rio da Janeiro and Aberrant Architecture, through their project would like to introduce this kind of system into the UK where there are limited funds and of course limited space for new builds.
Recent architecture graduates Ross Anderson and Anna Gibb were also selected and carried out their research in Russia during April this year. Whilst in Moscow they came across a group of young architects from the 1980’s who would meet secretly and enter their ideas into ‘forbidden competitions’ as a way of escaping the communist regime in Russia. The group called themselves ‘The Paper Architects’ and included people such as Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin. I must admit when I read this I found it all quite exciting in a Belleville Rendez-vous sort of way where ambition and danger collide. I have always found Guerilla tactics very interesting and far more provocative and intriguing than your average placard wielding protest. The Paper Architects solutions were often confrontational and whimsical allowing their imagination to run wild in a time of strict rules and regulations.
Anderson’s and Gibb’s investigation was driven by the problems architects face today in the UK. They feel that competitions are the best opportunities for unlimited self-expression and allow an escape from the limitations and lack of career prospects on offer today. So they have decided to enter a ‘forbidden competition’ in Scotland, for the Venice Takeaway, calling their entry Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere. Through their research they hope to inspire a new way of communicating among young architects and perhaps even a new community of Paper Architects in the UK.
The Takeaway will be on show at the Biennale from 29th August to 25th November in Venice this year but will also be exhibited at the RIBA in London from 26th February 2013, so if you cant make it to Venice this year there’s still another chance to see it all!
More pictures on the Venice TakeAway website: www.venicetakeaway.com/?portfolio=test
Written by our guest blogger Isabel Moseley.