british pavilion explores home economics at the venice architecture biennale
 
british pavilion explores home economics at the venice architecture biennale british pavilion explores home economics at the venice architecture biennale
may 25, 2016

british pavilion explores home economics at the venice architecture biennale

british pavilion explores home economics at the venice architecture biennale
all images by cristiano corte / courtesy of the british council

 

 

 

the british pavilion at the 15th international architecture exhibition responds to the biennale’s ‘reporting from the front’ theme by tackling the frontline of british architecture: the home. the pavilion’s curators — shumi bose, jack self and finn williams — have invited established and emerging artists, architects and designers to produce five immersive 1:1 environments, which propose new domestic models. the exhibition, titled ‘home economics’, has been commissioned by the british council for the 2016 venice architecture biennale, which runs until november 27, 2016.

 

‘home economics’ asks questions of british society and architectural culture that have come about as a result of changes in patterns of everyday life. the exhibition unfolds through a series of five structural propositions, designed around incremental amounts of time: hours, days, months, years, and decades. the results manifest as architectural responses, rather than solutions, to the conditions imposed on domestic life by varying amounts of occupancy.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
hours room — jack self with shumi bose and finn williams

 

 

 

britain is in the grips of a housing crisis,’ state the curators. ‘this is not only a failure of supply to meet demand, it is a failure of traditional housing models to accommodate new patterns of domestic life. the way we live is changing radically through time. ‘home economics’ is not about designing better versions of established housing models that are already broken. it is about designing new ideas for the home understood through the duration of occupancy. that is why we have chosen room designers and advisers who are working outside of traditional models, pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. we believe that british architecture is not responding to the challenges of modern living — life is changing; we must design for it.’

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
hours room — jack self with shumi bose and finn williams

 

 

 

visitors approaching the pavilion are greeted by an over-sized georgian paneled door that represents the advent of the terraced house. the glossy black door dominates the central axis of the giardini as a monument to the british home, inviting visitors to explore its different environments. inside the pavilion, each proposal is realized as a full-scale model, allowing visitors to inhabit an idea rather than reading the specialist tools of the architectural discipline, such as plans or scale drawings.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
hours room — jack self with shumi bose and finn williams

 

 

 

the first room, ‘hours’, has been developed by the curators of the british pavilion — jack self, shumi bose and finn williams. this central space presents a new kind of domestic environment where sharing is viewed as a potential luxury, rather than a compromise. the room is dominated by two pieces of furniture: modular daybeds arranged in different configurations for diverse forms of work, rest and play; and a large transparent communal ‘garderobe’, containing a selection of clothes curated by the fashion designer J.W. anderson, as well as common objects that future residents can share.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
hours room — jack self with shumi bose and finn williams

 

 

 

‘days’ — the second proposal in the sequence — imagines a new type of personal and portable space, responding to the global domestic landscape that has been created by services like airbnb. designed by åyr, a london-based art collective, the installation reflects our increasing engagement with social media, entertainment and virtual consumption. the room contains two inflatable spheres that are designed to be easily personalized and transported to different domestic environments. visitors are invited to climb inside and experience a familiar home away from home.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
days room — åyr (fabrizio ballabio, alessandro bava, luis ortega govela and octave perrault)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
days room — åyr (fabrizio ballabio, alessandro bava, luis ortega govela and octave perrault)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
days room — åyr (fabrizio ballabio, alessandro bava, luis ortega govela and octave perrault)

 

 

 

the third proposal, ‘months’, relates to short-term residencies in the context of temporary work contracts, study visas, or student semesters. conceived by dogma and black square, it imagines a new form of rent, where a flat monthly payment includes not only the use of space, but all domestic needs — tackling issues of privacy and household labor. at the center of the room is a ‘totem’, a two-storey utility core containing private spaces for sleeping, washing and cooking. the surrounding open plan areas are imagined as shared spaces for working and socializing, while services to cover cleaning, laundry and all the other domestic chores are included in the rent, making domestic labor history.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
months room — dogma (pier vittorio aureli and martino tattara) and black square (maria shéhérazade giudici)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
months room — dogma (pier vittorio aureli and martino tattara) and black square (maria shéhérazade giudici)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
months room — dogma (pier vittorio aureli and martino tattara) and black square (maria shéhérazade giudici)

 

 

 

the fourth space, relates to the period of ‘years’ and resists the assumption of home as an asset rather than a place to live. here, the cost of purchasing a house is minimized and, thanks to a custom-designed mortgage product, property speculation is opposed: home improvements are made for the purpose of dwelling rather than profiteering. developed by british-venezuelan architect julia king, the home has been designed from the perspective of a bank. the shell construction strips out every cost not required by a mortgage lender, thus leaving just a roof, running water, electricity, a lavatory and basin.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
years room — julia king

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
years room — julia king

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
years room — julia king

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
years room — julia king

 

 

 

the fifth and final space, ‘decades’, has been designed by architecture practice hesselbrand. here, long-term occupancies, suggesting intergenerational life and changing conditions of technological and physical capacities, are considered. the proposal is defined by spatial conditions rather than specific functions, to allow for a different form of flexible space. there are no predetermined activities denoted by domestic fittings, only different qualities of open/closed, private/public, wet/dry, and soft/hard surfaces. mediating between light and dark is a large square bed designed, like the rest of the room, without traditional specifications of capacity or orientation, inviting visitors to recline and consider the need for adaptable, useful and timeless spaces.

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
decades room – hesselbrand (martin brandsdal, magnus casselbrant and jesper henriksson)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
decades room – hesselbrand (martin brandsdal, magnus casselbrant and jesper henriksson)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
decades room – hesselbrand (martin brandsdal, magnus casselbrant and jesper henriksson)

venice architecture biennale british pavilion
since 1938 the british pavilion at the venice biennales of art and architecture has been commissioned by the british council; the uk’s cultural relations organisation

 

 

for more images, follow designboom on our dedicated instagram account @venice.architecture.biennale

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