o'donnell + tuomey: vessel for venice
o'donnell + tuomey: vessel for venice o'donnell + tuomey: vessel for venice
sep 03, 2012

o'donnell + tuomey: vessel for venice

‘vessel’ by o’donnell + tuomey at the venice biennale image © designboom




sheila o’donnell and john tuomey of the irish firm o’donnell + tuomey are presenting ‘vessel’ at the 13th international architecture exhibition in venice. responding to the brick columns and walls of the arsenale, this two-storey tall structure made with stacked timber struts forms a contemplative space for visitors to the biennale. the wooden geometric form mimics a pattern of bricks, a common material found in their projects.


steps lead into a series of portals which frame diverse views of the encompassing background of work by poets, artists and other architects, viewed as inseparable from practice by the architects. the installation identifies the common ground relationship between the physical and intellectual contexts of architecture. along the walls, shelves hold sectional models of works by liam flynn, alvar aalto, sigurd lewerentz, le corbusier, aldo rossi and alvaro siza. study models walk visitors through the conceptual and design process for o’donnell + tuomey’s london school of economics. watercolor renderings were used to conceive the entry and interior spaces and were also used in their recent project, lyric theatre belfast.

side view image © designboom

two portals which frame views of the encompassing encompassing work images © designboom

third portal in the rear image © designboom

stacked timber struts reveal stairs image © designboom

image © designboom

light filters inward from above through the chimney-like form image © designboom

stepped struts in the ceiling plane image © designboom

upward view into the chimney image © designboom

ground plane image © designboom

dual entry with steps of varied heights image © designboom

1:10 prototype model in jetoba hardwood sections with installation beyond image © designboom

1:10 prototype model in jetoba hardwood sections, 2012 image © designboom

1:50 sectional model of ‘vessel’ image © designboom

model of ‘vessel’ image © designboom

conceptual sketches in sketchbooks image © designboom

shelf of precedent models image © designboom

(left to right) inner rimmed vessel with spine made from oak by liam flynn, 2012 inner rimmed vessel sliced in section made from oak with red oxide paint by liam flynn, 2012 1:50 sectional model of the ‘vessel for venice’ by o’donnel + tuomey, 2012 1:50 sectional model of the ‘experimental house’ in muuratsalo, finland by alvar aalto, 1952-54 image © designboom

(left to right) 1:50 sectional model of the ‘flower kiosk’ at eastern cemetery in malmo, sweden by sigurd lewerentz, 1969 1:50 sectional model of the ‘osaka folly’ in osaka, japan by macdonald and salter, 1989-90 1:50 sectional model of the ‘oratory’ at le couvent de la tourette in eveux-sur-l’arbresle, france by le corbusier, 1957-60 image © designboom

(left to right) 1:50 sectional model of ‘santa maria church’ in marco de canavezes, portugal by alvaro siza, 1990-96 1:50 sectional model of the ‘monument to the resistance at cuneo’ by aldo rossi, 1962 1:50 sectional model of the ‘center for the advancement of public action’ in vermont, USA by williams and tsien, 2008-11

1:50 sectional model of the ‘vessel for venice’ by o’donnel + tuomey, 2012 image © designboom

watercolor of the entry to the ‘london school of economics’, 2009 image © designboom

watercolor of the ‘london school of economics’ image © designboom

watercolor of the ‘london school of economics’ image © designboom

1:500 conceptual model of the ‘london school of economics’ made from layered card, 2009 images © designboom

1:200 working model in card, 2010 image © designboom

1:200 working model in card, 2010 image © designboom

competition study model made from card, 2009 mage © designboom

1:50 working model in cardboard, 2010 image © designboom

three timber molds and hand thrown bricks for the LSE, 2012 – courtesy of coleford brick image © designboom



project info:


additional supporters: culture ireland, COFORD—council for forest research and development, department of agriculture, food and the marine, gem joinery coillte, glennon brothers, wood marketing federation, seating and access contracts, murray timber, horganlynch, london school of economics, swift brickwork, coleford brick, office of public works

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