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At the Biennale, the Vatican proposes a reinterpretation of the religious space

26.05.18 - 25.11.18

Of all the national participations at this edition of the Venice Biennale, that of the Vatican deserves a special mention for the venue where it is staged, for its innovative character and for the interest of the proposal. The Holy See commissioned 10 architects to build as many chapels, which were installed on the isle of San Giorgio Maggiore in the shadow of Palladio’s famous church. Besides constituting an example of small formal exercises, the intervention looks into the origins of the ideal space of the Christian community. Eduardo Souto de Moura presents a return to the telluric space of the early societies of believers, as in a sense is also done by Terunobu Fujimori in his reinterpretation of the solid yet humble space of the primitive temple. The proposals range from the minimalism of the metallic lines of Carla Juaçaba and the light well by Sean Godsell or the cosmic recreations of Javier Corvalan and Smiljan Radic to the more formal work of Foster and Flores & Prats or the examples of refinement of the ritual space in the projects by Francesco Cellini and Andrew Berman.

Moreover, and to complete the array of information on this edition, we should mention the decision of the Biennale judging panel which, from the varied ensemble of proposals, decided to choose and recognise Switzerland and Great Britain with the Gold and Silver Lions respectively in the national pavilion category. In the FREESPACE exhibition, the winners were headed by Eduardo Souto de Moura, with the Silver Lion going to Jan der Wyde, with Rahul Mehrotra and Andra Matin receiving special mentions. Lastly, Kenneth Frampton was awarded the Gold Lion for Lifetime Achievement, a recognition through which the Venice Biennale 2018 wanted to celebrate a whole life dedicated to architectural research and dissemination.


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