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A new piece of contemporary architecture located in the prestigious Loggia of the Ducal Palace in San Marco square has created a new connection between London and Venice, cementing three centuries of architectural history.
The Venice Pavilion was recently unveiled as part of the renowned Venice Architecture Biennale and was the result of a research collaboration between the University of East London, New London Architecture, The Building Centre for London and the Soprintendenza ai BBAA of Venice.
The geometric structure was designed and built by UEL diploma students and consists of pure white Venetian plaster and metal from London. It recalls three centuries of architectural connectivity and dialogue between the great cities of London and Venice with the aim of stating that contemporary is nourished by the past.
At the end of this month the structure will connect digitally, physically and metaphorically to a larger similar version in London which has also been created by UEL students. Through the use of live video streaming technology, visitors will be able to look into the installations and experience life in the associated city. The London pavilion will be situated outside the Building Centre, home to New London Architecture, and will be unveiled as part of the London Festival of Architecture.
Researcher Alan Chandler, who is also the programme leader for architectural studies at UEL, comments: “The Venice Pavilion is an archetypal ‘house’ that speaks about the millions of British houses that owe their detail and language to the nineteenth century artist John Ruskin, who stole mercilessly from Venice. We gave back a house, stripped of imitation but still balanced on the piles of Venice – a video link to the South bank of London plays in the loggia behind, with a graphic exhibited on a display stand designed by Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa – a nice conversation between two old merchant cities trying hard not to become museums of themselves – and succeeding.”
Also being exhibited at the Venice Biennale is the Austrian Pavilion co-curated by UEL architecture lecturer Harald Trapp – ‘Places of Power’ – presenting 196 models of parliament buildings across the globe – 193 of the United Nations with Palestine, Kosovo and Taiwan. The unified presentation of the buildings in white, at a scale of 1:500, arranged across the walls of the pavilion questions how democratic processes are expressed through architecture, and engages the visitor in what is evidently a crisis in the representation of architecture and politics alike. The Austrian Pavilion was listed as one of the Guardian’s top ten pavilions at the festival.
Alan Chandler comments: “The invitation to curate two of the Biennale events is a tremendous expression of confidence in the staff and students at UEL and our collective ability to communicate architecturally significant ideas to both the profession and the public on the biggest architectural stage in the world.”
Read more about Alan Chandler’s research here.
Image: Venice Pavilion at the Loggia of the Ducal Palace