the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions

the german pavilion IS ‘open for maintenance’ 

 

Venice Architecture Biennale 2023: This year, the German Pavilion presents ‘Open for Maintenance’, an inspiring concept dedicated to matters of care, repair, and upkeep. Curated by ARCH+, SUMMACUMFEMMER, and Büro Juliane Greb, the pavilion is squatted in the Giardini through a series of maintenance works that render visible the processes of spatial and social care typically hidden from the public eye. Part of that process includes reusing lefotver materials from over 40 national pavilions showcasing at the Biennale Art 2022. 

 

The concept also sheds light on contemporary debates over existing building stock in the context of sustainability and resource conservation from a historical and social per­spective: during the 1970s and 1980s, the social practice of maintaining urban fabric by the squatters’ movement in Berlin made an important contribution toward devel­oping a more cautious approach to urban renewal, and thus to the conservation of urban communities and built environments. This precedent demonstrates that ecolog­ical sustainability is inextricably linked to the social question,’ writes the curating team. 

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
all images © ARCH+, SUMMACUMFEMMER, Büro Juliane Greb (unless stated otherwise)

 

 

squatting, upkeeping, and repurposing leftover materials 

 

Squatting and maintaining the German Pavilion starts with taking it over in its existing condition. Rather than dismantling Maria Eichhorn’s work ‘Relocating a Structure’, Germany’s contribution to the Biennale Arte 2022, the curators have actively engaged with the artist to incorporate her project into the Pavilion’s new design. Working with an ‘as found’ mindset emphasizes the discursive, mate­rial, and economic aspects of sustainability. In this way, Biennale Arte 2022 and Biennale Architettura 2023 are spatially and programmatically interwoven for the first time.

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
image © designboom

 

 

The same guiding principle is applied across the entire project—the Pavilion’s exhibition itself will be realized entirely with leftover material from last year’s Biennale Arte 2022; several national pavilions are lending support, making demolition material from their exhibi­tions available for reuse.

 

This integration of ‘spolia’ as part of a new material assemblage creates surprising new contexts of meaning and imparts unique cultural and creative value to the leftover materials. ‘Open for Maintenance’ thus takes a creative angle toward the resource problem presented by biennales, which leave behind hundreds of tons of trash every year. The contribution’s practice­-oriented approach opens up exciting modes of action and alternative design possibilities for architecture, contributing to its social renewal,’ continues the team. 

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
‘Open for Maintenance’ entrance sign

 

 

FROM EXHIBITION TO HABITATION AT VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE

 

Tying into the subject selected by this year’s Biennale curator Lesley Lokko, ‘The Laboratory of the Future’, the German contribution understands the concept of the ‘laboratory’ in a multi-faceted way—including as a workshop in the literal sense. Inspired by Venetian urban activist Marco Baravalle’s slogan ‘From Exhibition to Habitation’, the project transforms a site of national representation into a place of communal every­ day practice. 

 

To accomplish this, all built interventions undertaken for the Pavilion are oriented toward local needs. This project will ultimately become a productive infrastruc­ture, promoting principles of circular construction in tandem with architecture’s social responsibility. In other words, it will collect, catalog, provision, and process used material from the Biennale Arte 2022. An on­site workshop will form the basis for various activist groups from Venice and beyond and for universities to engage, through one-on-one interventions, with the maintenance of socio­-spatial structures.

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
the German Pavilion as a material repository

 

 

reviving venice’s networks of social and material maintenance

 

In addition to the question of resources, ‘Open for Maintenance’ deals with questions of social and spatial inclusion in Venice. Hundreds of the city’s public housing units stand empty or in disrepair, while many inhabitants of the lagoon city can no longer afford to live there. Because of the commercialization of urban space through mass tourism, biennales, and the events industry, everyday life is disappearing, and with it go networks of social and material maintenance-oriented toward the common welfare. At the same time, this circumstance has resulted in various activist groups taking practical approaches to solving the problem.

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
image © designboom

 

 

‘Open for Maintenance’ offers these actors a platform: for the entire duration of this year’s Biennale Architettura 2023, they will have the opportunity to engage critically with its format and with architecture as a discipline through a series of workshops featuring interventions within the Pavilion as well as Venice’s urban space. The workshop program, ‘Maintenance 1:1’, will be implemented in cooperation with Sto­-Stiftung and AIT­-Dialog as part of the ‘Venice Biennale Lab’ series, hosting univer­sities, vocational schools, and initiatives from Venice and beyond. Furthermore, throughout the Biennale Architettura 2023, the Goethe ­Institut will act as the German Pavilion’s programming partner, addressing further aspects of the curatorial concept through its program series ‘Performing Architecture’, which will feature artistic and performative projects on topics such as inclusion, care work, and urban practice.

german-pavilion-designboom-full

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
the kitchenette

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
image © designboom

german-pavilion-designboom-full-3

the 2023 german pavilion reuses leftover materials from last year's art biennale exhibitions
the meeting space

german-pavilion-designboom-full-5

 

 

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the new inclusive access ramp
the new inclusive access ramp
view of the German Pavilion entrance
view of the German Pavilion entrance
the new inclusive access ramp
the new inclusive access ramp
leftover material from Chile Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2022
leftover material from Chile Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2022
spolia of the exhibition 'Queendom' from Israeli Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2022
spolia of the exhibition 'Queendom' from Israeli Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2022
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image © designboom
image © designboom

project info:

 

name: Open for Maintenance

location: Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy 

program: 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia@labiennale

curators: ARCH + | @archplusnet, SUMMACUMFEMMER, Büro Juliane Greb 

curatorial team: Anne Femmer, Franziska Gödicke, Juliane Greb, Christian Hiller,
Petter Krag, Melissa Makele, Anh-Linh Ngo, Florian Summa 

commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building 

 

 

Explore designboom’s ongoing coverage of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale: The Laboratory of the Future here, and follow our dedicated channel on Instagram here.

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