croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale
croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale
sep 28, 2010

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale

croatia’s ‘floating pavilion’ for the 12th international architecture biennale in venice, italy image courtesy photo by zelimir grzancic

for the event of this year’s venice architecture biennale, croatia has designed and built a floating pavilion on an existing barge to be tugged by a tow boat to the site of the international event. constructed out of 32 tons of steel, the structure’s form is defined by a methodical system consisting of over 40 layers of welded Q385 wire mesh. each layer contours at varying depths and lengths to create a carved out space which plays with different transparencies, densities, and vision lines. despite the solid and heavy materials, the resulting effect is a blurring of form;at a distance, the pavilion conveys elements of fragility and lightness. the project is a collaborative effort by 14 croatian architects and members of the local maritime industry.

however, despite the relatively short journey from croatia to venice, the pavilion experienced structural problems and never made it to the italian site.

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale in phase of collapse image courtesy katarina olujic

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale image by robert les

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale image courtesy katarina olujic

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale image courtesy katarina olujic

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale completed form, before leaving for venice image courtesy

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale interior view image courtesy

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale night view image courtesy

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale shots of the pavilion at the rijeka port in croatia images courtesy

croatia's floating pavilion for venice architecture biennale the floating pavilion sailing for venice image courtesy photo by zelimir grzancic

project credit:

commissioner: leo modrčin architects: saša begović, marko dabrović, igor franić, tanja grozdanić, petar mišković, silvije novak, veljko oluić, helena paver njirić, lea pelivan, toma plejić, goran rako, saša randić, idis turato, pero vuković, tonči zarnić maritime consultant: miljenko gržalja structural engineer: zvonimir sabljak naval architecture: nicola ferrari principal contractor:

  • That is what happens when you get artists to build something not engineers!

    J says:
  • SAD to hear so stupid comment. Building history has been erected by many artists…

    joachim says:
  • A little more engineering would not have hurt…

    2B says:
  • @J . please read better the project credit:

    “structural engineer: zvonimir sabljak”

    so…if you really want somebody to blame, that person is actually an engineer!

    a d k v says:
  • simply devine

    matt says:
  • It is the major public scandal in Croatia because authors of the crippled pavilion wasted the huge amount of taxpayers’ money!

    hrvoje says:
  • if you need 14 architects for such a ridiculous disaster, what one would be able to do alone?

    penn says:
  • the architects whose buildings collapse are the most miserable

    norman says:
  • It looks like Melted Custard Pastries

    Terri says:
  • o my god, what a debacle !!!
    something like that couldn’t ever happen to serious architects …

    3dhlsd says:
  • for the taxpayers’ money wasted by these ignorant snobs several damaged schools or hospitals could have been repaired

    florence says:
  • In Croatia authors of the crippled pavilion are usually called Architectural Mafia because of their interrelated manipulations in connection with right wing politics on power and their privileged status functioning as out of free market “protected species” in the jungle of Croatian everyday reality. Therefore architectural community in Croatia is extremely sensitive to this matter and very-very upset because for a decade majority of architects were terrorized by their monopole and dealing & wheeling through high functions in Architectural Associations. They are actually the champions in spending and wasting tax payers’ money.

    horvath says:
  • that’s why decent and famous croatian architects ivanisin & kabashi exhibited in montenegro pavilion at the biennale…

    cad says:
  • Wow, a floating piece of rust. Well, never had heard of anything good coming out of croatia so no news there.

    jj says:
  • it seems to be a croatian affair,
    my thoughts are that from an aesthetic point of view the pavilion is OK

    gerard says:
  • Failure is the proof that you were pushing the boundaries, admittedly for posterity it is not ideal. But this is for an exhibition, a show of manufacturing, design & creative innovation. If they hadn’t pushed the boundaries I would be willing to bet the self same naysayers & Luddites would be here posting comments criticising there pedestrian & uninspired work. I cannot comment on the political situation in Croatia so I will not, I would like to comment on previous posts though:

    jj- your comment is borderline racism.
    3dhlsd- I hope your comment is sarcastic, otherwise you are simply naive.
    J (original post) Are you an idiot. Almost all of the worlds truly spectacular failures weather it be buildings, bridges, ships, etc. were designed & built under the supervision of highly qualified & supremely confident engineers. An engineer does not automatically guarantee the success of a project. As with so many things in life luck is still a major part of innovation.

    Jon says:
  • i think this was a great idea considering the fact that croatian coast is on the other side of the adriatic sea. a floating pavilion. great. also, its a nautical country, and had big scandals considering ship building. i’ve also heard that the construction was bad due to lack of money.
    i really didn’t expect such rasist comments on designboom like the one from “jj”

    mort says:
  • excellent footage of the crippled pavilion you can find at [url=] [/url]

    sexy says:
  • It was divine intervention that it collapsed in transit.
    They should rather have had one Architect (not 14 plannemakers) and 14 engineers

    WWW.illem says:
  • @Jon: You must be a big brain green creature living on some remeted planet in the galaxy far-far away… What are you talking about?! They should do “pushing the boundaries” job with they parents’ money in their own garages or backyards, NOT IN PUBLIC WITH TAXPAYERS’ MONEY bringing a terrible shame to Croatian architecture, or better to say to architecture in general!

    sally says:
  • This is the [url=] Raft of the Medusa [/url] of the Craoatian Architects’ Mafia

    nik says:
  • hey mort, designboom is obviously not manipulated and highly censored webzin like or archdaily as you would probably like it to be!

    noah says:
  • Gosh! This should finish on court! Was someone hurt in this terrible rusted mesh-mash?

    kevin says:
  • Croatian Chamber of Architects and Architects’ Society released gathered [url=] communique [/url] by which general public was informed that architectural community in Croatia has nothing with this disgraceful incident because authors of the pavilion didn’t took any responsibility for the collapse and waste of taxpayers’ money.

    oldspice says:
  • Absolutely fabulous disaster !!!

    cher says:

    hertha says:
  • The most ridiculous is that most of the authors of the crippled pavilion are professors at the Faculty of architecture either at Zagreb or/and at Split University!?

    fran says:
  • the authors of the crushed pavilion unsuccessfully tried to mystify its collaps at the [url=] press conference [/url] and answered awkwardly to the [url=] journalists’ questions [/url]

    savon says:
  • What is this? The Ship of Fools? “Croatian pavilion at the Venice Biennale is a great success and has good reception worldwide” or “We will take a responsibility when that responsibility will be identified.” ?!?! What are they talking about? Are these people lunatics? Or maybe politicians?

    jasmin says:
  • @savon: Gorgeous footage! Demonstration of clasical totalitaristic brainwashing! Politburo convincing common people that black is actually white and vice versa! They are even instructing the journalists what to write!?

    vortex says:
  • petty cool. but not my cup of tea!

    Liv says:
  • WHAT? 14 professors of architecture involved!!!
    The plot thickens….. wait for the next installment

    WWW.illem says:
  • heavens, what an arrogance ! these men pretended as they just came back from the successful mission to jupiter with some minor technical problem , not as they just wrecked loads of croatian tax-payers’ money !!!

    bob says:
  • Actually this pretentious so called pavilion doesn’t exist any more because it has finished in Breaker’s Yard and its parts in Steel Scrap…

    Platak says:
  • This is even more humorous than the [url=] Architect Sketch [/url] from Monty Python’s Flying Circus

    idle says:
  • a large percentage of buildings will suffer some structural failure if transported over rough seas via barge after construction. one of the 14 architects should have suggested constructing it in venice.

    just sayin says:
  • Probably, if s/he had not dreams of Glory at the Golden Castle, now Sunken and Rusted…

    Q says:
  • Ahh, such a shame… it looked really cool at the dock, but one of these photos showed it looking really, really top heavy. That mesh is supposed to work in tension, not compression, and not much buckling resistance if you pile a bunch of weight on only a few vertical members. Just one shear wall, or a little solid core in there and it probably would have been just fine

    Elvis Presley says:
  • 14 architects, even professors, gathered to produce such a horrible failure?! Absolutely ridiculous! As Horvath said, they definitely must be some kind of clumsy and disgraceful Local Mafia.

    buch says:
  • @idle The funniest was these wise guys’ pretentious public declaration that their raft had just to berth Riva degli Schiavoni in Venice in order to collect the Golden Lion as Kazuyo Sejima is going to faint immediately on the spot because of it’s glorious magnificence!!!

    zlatan says:
  • @sally, Hi from my planet, Earth (where no matter what you have been told green is a goal not our skin colour, not sure where your posting from Alpha Self Centred perhaps?) Here the use of public funds is a necessity when “pushing the boundaries” how many particle accelerators like the LHC would we have in peoples garage financed by their parents? How many MRI scanners would you have access to from your local neighbourhood tinkerer? How many times would man have been to space in vehicles converted from the astronauts parents old lawn mower & so how many satellites based on Kenwood Mulichiefs giving us GPS & global telecoms would have been launched in the grass hoppers of those lawn mowers? Sally how are you accessing this blog? I am sure someone with such highly held opinions of state subsidy of anything which isn’t instantly apparent as being of benefit to you, would not use the internet (instigated with government funding (never intended for the use of you & me) & accessed by communications networks which are almost exclusively financed by public subsidies given to the private sector which we then pay for the use of!)

    Jon says:
  • @zlatan – o my god! it seems that the raft itself has more moral than them. maybe it has collapsed because of the shame?!

    fly says:
  • what a fiasco, what a blamage…

    arym says:
  • here are some more [url=] images [/url] of how the pavilion looks like after the breakdown

    fax says:
  • It must be the worst nightmare for every architect when building collapse

    robin says:
  • How something like that could ever happen?

    Jenny says:
  • this kind of things just shouldn’t happen to serious architects

    brenda says:
  • pretentious SPECTACLE transformed into the pathetic DEBACLE

    viola says:
  • i think the dynamic forces with the structure in movement were not considered enough…
    this was made in a hurry, with a lack of money and many other things involved which resulted like this…

    Cloe says:
  • There are no “made in a hurry” and “lack of money” excuses in architecture because people should be safe in [url=] built structures [/url] !!!

    Bob the Builder says:
  • i agree…such “mistakes” are irresponsible and very dangerous

    Cloe says:
  • My goodness what is this? What kind of ships are these [url=]business school grants[/url]

    tarun verma says:
  • inhabitable structures shouldn’t collapse;
    it is important to avoid the risk of hurting people at all costs;
    these are basics…

    yaacef says:

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