the enchanting northern italian dolomite valley of val gardena is the site of the 6th annual gherdeina biennale, a celebration language, themed ‘writing the mountains.’ architect jiri prihoda was invited to participate with the design of a pavilion of poetry. together with its sculptural and architectural qualities, the pavilion serves as a site for poetry and performative readings. val gardena is known for its famous skilled carpenters who, since the 16th century supplied the whole of catholic europe with religious wooden carved figurative sculptures. the valley winds along the sasso lunge mountain, which draws attention with its dominating ridge-line at whichever moment one sees it on the horizon.

jiri prihoda diogenes barrel
all images © jiří příhoda

 

 

jiri prihoda’s pavilion, titled “diogene’s barrel,” is an homage to the greek stoic philosopher diogenes. it is constructed using locally sourced timber and was constructed by its local carpenters with expressed structural qualities. at night, the only light source is the glowing corralit stone which makes up a section of the barrel roof. this artificial stone was first used by prihoda in the 2013 firefly dwelling. the longitudinal axis of the barrel is directly aligned with the sasso lunge mountain, offering visitors a framed view of its majestic image while moving through the space of the object.

jiri prihoda diogenes barrel

 

 

the pavilion is located at an archeological dig site at the peak of col de flam. here, local artist gregor prugger narrated the story of himself as a young boy digging in this particular spot for shards of ceramics from that period. poet alessandro francesco held a reading during the opening days of the biennale. diogene’s barrel is encircled by a mountain trail which winds upwards toward st. jacob’s church built in the 13th century. after the closing of the biennale the pavilion will remain as a permanent artwork, open to public use by both val gardena residents and visitors.

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