Submitted by Michael Swords

Spanish Architects at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

Spain - May 27, 2018 - 10:51   2739 views

Most architects and designers will have seen glut of Twitter and Instagram posts over the past few days from friends and colleagues arriving in Venice in this excited anticipation for this year's Venice Biennale 2018, undoubtedly the most eagerly awaited and prestigious event on this year's architectural calendar. 


The "Arsenale" in Venice, home to this years "Freespace" exhibition by 71 invited Architects. Image © La Biennale di Venezia 

The event opened to the public on the 26th May, with numerous works by Spanish architects on display. In this article, some of the most intriguing installations and pavilions by Spanish Architects on show in this year's event will be briefly discussed.

Coming off the back of a successful Spanish entry in the 2016 event, entitled “unfinished” which was awarded the “golden lion” prize for the best pavilion, Spanish Architects have a lot to live up to this year. As described on WAC in January, the curator for the Spanish Pavilion in the 2018 event is Atxu Amann, and will oversee this year's Spanish entry entitles “becoming”.

However, there are some other great up and coming Spanish architects on display in this year's event, including Pritzker Prize-winning architects RCR Arquitectes, who are curating the Catalan Pavilion, and the talented Barcelona-based practice Flores and Prats, who are responsible for the creation of one of the Vatican cities 10 small chapels, are also taking part in the “Freespace” event.

As part of this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, the Irish curators Shelley Mcnamara and Yvonne Farrell have invited 71 architects from around the world to participate in the exhibition “Freespace”, which can be seen in the Giardini and the Arsenale, which includes the work of 5 Spanish studios. Apart from the main Spanish Pavilion, numerous other Spanish studios have works on display in the Biennale, namely Rafael Moneo and Paredes Pedrosa, Miralles Tagliabue and Carmé Pinós who all participate in the Freespace event alongside Flores y Prats.


Spains 2018 Pavilion "becoming", curated by Atxu Amann. Image © Pati Nuñez agency.

“becoming” - Spanish Pavilion curated by Atxu Amann

Venue: Giardini

While the 2016 Spanish Pavilion seeked to show reinventions within Spanish Architecture since the financial crisis, this year's pavilion looks to the future from the point of view of researchers.

The proposal starts from a series of 52 adjectives that can be used to describe architecture. The interior walls of the space have been "tattooed" with 143 proposals that are unified in the way they relate to the 52 adjectives which set the theme of the installation, and are relevant to the architectural discipline today.

The pavilion presents works produced by architectural students between 2012 - 2017 and according to its curators "becoming makes an allusion to avector of the future, with a common educational background in the schools, which extends to other learning experiences in space and time, in dialogue with other disciplines".


Map showing the location of Flores Y Prats two installations in this years event. Image © Flores Y Prats.


"Liquid light" by Flores Y Prats, part of the "Freespace" exhibition by 71 invited architects in the Arsenale. Image © Flores Y Prats

Flores y prats - “The Morning Chapel” & “Liquid Light for Freespace”

Venue 1: Giorgio Cini Foundation on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Venue 2: Arsenale

Much of the work by Catalan practice “Flores Y Prats” exhibits an idiosyncratic use of light as a fluid material to emphasise and highlight space and structure, perhaps first seen in their 2003 project “Museum of the Mills of the Balearic Islands.” The same use of "liquid light"  was evident in their recent restoration of the Sala beckett in Barcelona. For their participation in the "freespace" event, they have recreated a fragment of the sala beckett within the arsenale in a small intervention entitled "Liquid Light".

In addition to re-creating a part of their "Sala beckett" within the Arsenale, Flores y Prats are one of the 10 internationally renowned studies that have been selected to participate as part of the Vatican cities first entry. The Vatican has selected architects including Norman Foster, Eduardo Souto de Moura and Teronobou Fujimori to work on this first entry by the city state.

The pavilions are constructed in a woodland area on the island of San Giorgio di Maggiore. Following the Biennale, the Vatican plans to dismantle the 10 chapels and rebuild them in Italian communities that have been devastated by recent earthquakes.

Image © RCR Arquitectes

“Dream and Nature - Catalonia in Venice” RCR Arquitectes

Venue: Cantieri Navali, Castello, 40 (Calle Quintavalle)

Recent recipients of the Pritzker Prize 2017, RCR Arquitectes are the co-curators of the Catalan Pavilion along with journalist Pati Núñez and architect Estel Ortega. Their work presents a space without models or plans, creating an immersive installation in which the though and dreams of the architects are presented.

The team behind this year's Catalan Pavilion, RCR Arquitects in collaboration with Pati Núñez and Estel Ortega. Image © RCR Arquitectes

Inspired by a farmhouse near Olot which the architects purchased last year as a "space of freedom", and a laboratory of research, the designers have attempted to create the closest thing to a "cave of lights", consisting of 600 magnifying lenses suspended from the ceiling. The project is shown in the "Collateral Events" section.

RCR Arquitectes’ Dream and Nature Catalonia in Venice. Image courtesy of Institut Ramon Llull

The Venice Architecture Biennale was opened to the public on the 26th May, and will remain open until 25th November 2018. Further info about the event can be found on the website.

Top image: The entrance to the Spanish Pavilion "becoming", curated by Atxu Amann. Image © Pati Nuñez agency

> via Venice Architecture Biennale