british pavilion at the venice biennale features a rooftop piazza, but no exhibitions
 

british pavilion at the venice biennale features a rooftop piazza, but no exhibitions

for the 2018 venice architecture biennale, the british pavilion has been covered with scaffolding that supports a roof-level piazza. the curatorial team, caruso st john architects with artist marcus taylor, have responded to event’s freespace theme with an exhibtion that features two very different settings. contrasting the new public gathering space on the roof, the interior of the pavilion has been left intentionally abandoned — untouched after the last exhibition in 2017.

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
a drone’s eye view of the british pavilion’s roof terrace
image by cultureshock media © british council (also main image)

 

 

commissioned by the british council, the pavilion will host a program of events, performances, installations, and debates responding to the theme of freespace and ideas raised by the pavilion’s own theme — island. the elevated piazza is accessed via a scaffold staircase that runs the length of the building. intriguingly, the peak of the pavilion’s roof projects up through the floor at the center of the terrace, suggesting both an island and a sunken world beneath. tea will be served each afternoon, with seats and umbrellas offering comfort and shade.

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the british pavilion shown within the context of the giardini
image by cultureshock media © british council

 

 

left deliberately vacant, complete with wall markings and scuffs, the interior contains no exhibitions whatsoever. ‘in past biennales, the pavilion has held curated exhibitions on architectural themes,’ explain adam caruso, peter st john, and marcus taylor, curators of the 2018 british pavilion. ‘this year, we have taken a different approach. there will be no exhibits; instead we have realized a structure that can be experienced like a building.’

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the structure has been covered with scaffolding that supports a roof-level piazza
image © hélène binet

 

 

‘there are many ways to interpret the experience of visiting island and the state of the building suggests many themes; including abandonment, reconstruction, sanctuary, brexit, isolation, colonialism and climate change,’ the curators continue. ‘it is intended as a platform, in this case also literally, for a new and optimistic beginning. it is forward looking whilst acknowledging the past, whether good or bad.’

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the staircase runs the length of the building
image © hélène binet

 

 

‘this year’s winning proposal, island, will represent great britain at the most influential gathering for contemporary art and architecture anywhere in the world,’ adds sarah mann, director of architecture design fashion at the british council, and commissioner of the british pavilion 2018. ‘we are thrilled to present this new structure for the british pavilion which breaks with convention, creating a place for visitors to meet and engage with the building and each other, in a new way. the accompanying program of events will highlight the pavilion’s role as a space for debate, for exchange of ideas and for visionary thinking.’

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the peak of the pavilion’s roof projects up through the floor at the center of the terrace
image © hélène binet

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
seats and umbrellas offer comfort and shade
image © designboom

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the terrace offers sweeping views across the lagoon
image © hélène binet

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
left deliberately vacant, the interior contains no exhibitions whatsoever
image © hélène binet

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the building contains a series of vacant, programmable spaces
image © designboom

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the pavilion has been left untouched from the last exhibition in 2017
image © designboom

british pavilion venice architecture biennale
the interior has been left with wall markings and scuffs
image © hélène binet

 

 

venice architecture biennale golden lion

designboom’s coverage of the 2018 venice architecture biennale is in partnership with leading energy company edison. edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.

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