“Architecture, not architects...”

Italian Cultural Institute in London welcomes Koolhaas and Baratta

by eleonora usseglio prinsi
8 Love 1852 Visits

NEWS_Rem Koolhaas has "re- designed" the new Venice Biennale 2014.

This new edition curated by the Dutch architect doesn't leave space to the barren and usual discussion regarding the too many starchitects vs not enough younger ones, always the same faces vs. not enough new protagonists from different countries, architecture vs architects.

Sever all connections with contemporary architecture” this one of the conditions that Koolhaas laid down at the time of his appointment.
The key word is Research, not just to elaborate the exhibition, but even more during the Biennale, that Paolo Baratta describes as “a Festival, not only to be visited, but also to decide what you want to do”.

Yesterday, after the presentation in Rome, the Italian Cultural Institute in London welcomed the curator Rem Koolhaas and Paolo Baratta the President of the Biennale of Venezia to illustrate the new conception of the event.

Architecture, not architects...” that's the motto.

I found the presentation like one of the classes during the first design unit at the Architectture Faculty. Stop the whirling world of architecture for a while to research and reflect about  fundamental aspects of the architecture practice. A kind of journey through the phases of the creative process to conceive a project.

Cover: Monditalia – Corderie  Copyright Rem Koolhaas

First phase: take inspiration from as many disciplines as possible

Crossing the Arsenale a structure will support the Tabula Peutingeriana, a Roman map of Italy, a sequence of individual episodes to form a single narrative.

“I am personally a huge amateur of Italy and therefore it is my pleasure to organize a special focus on this Country”

Monditalia, proposes to dedicate all the space to a single theme Italy, a multidisciplinary work in progress conceived by a group of 40 critics and architects, 20 Italians and 20 foreign ones, constantly evolving and on permanent display.

La Biennale embraces various disciplines Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema, which will be incorporated to epitomise the articulated and living context in which architecture may be conceived or imagined” explained Baratta.

 Absorbing Modernity 1914 Copyright Rem Koolhaas

Second phase: analyse the past

Unlike in the past, where each country tried desperately to reveal the specifics of its nation or to show that the country was in the condition to participate in the global world of architecture, 65 participating countries this year will be engaging around a single theme: Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014.

“We want provoke a comment by each country, who are completely free to interpret our motto”. In Koolhaas’ opinion one hundred years later, under the influence of wars, diverse political regimes and different state of development, architecture is no longer recognisable as national and has become seemingly interchangeable and global.

The transition to what seems like a universal architectural language is a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical intervention and hidden ways of remaining “national”.

 Absorbing Modernity 1914 Copyright Rem Koolhaas

Third phase: understanding the “fundamentals” of the building

At the Central Pavilion “Elements of Architecture” will take place, bringing back the dimension of architecture to the right scale. Floor, wall, ceiling, roof door, window, façade, balcony, corridor, fireplace, toilet, stair, escalator, elevator, ramp are protagonists of an excursus from the drawing of the Piranesi Fire Place to new heat sensor that follows you wherever you go elaborated by MIT SENSEable City Lab, “Not sure if it works” jokes Koolhaas.

Central Pavilion, Model in progress Copyright Rem Koolhaas

So let’s see the result from the 7th June until the 23rd November in Venice.