venice biennale 2012: german pavilion
venice biennale 2012: german pavilion venice biennale 2012: german pavilion
sep 17, 2012

venice biennale 2012: german pavilion


the german pavilion at the 2012 venice architecture biennale features 16 projects that present an affirmative approach to waste hierarchy, while simultaneously exemplifying eleven different conversion strategies. project commissioner muck petzet and konstantin grcic who has designed the exhibition, have worked together to offer an installation that embodies the universal winning message of the three Rs – reduce / reuse / recycle – looking to architecture as a resource, inviting viewers to understand the value that existing built fabric represents as the basis for shaping our future.



designboom interviews konstantin grcic on the design of the german pavilion’s exhibition video © designboom (main image © designboom)



transferring the ‘avoidance and minimization logic’ onto our dealings with existing buildings, the show examines whether this allows a new value system to emerge. the work is broken down into the three concepts that constitute ‘waste hierarchy’: the first principle is the most important, the reduction of waste; followed by the most direct reutilization possible with the minimal use of a mechanical system; and lastly, the transformation of material into reusable substance.

cultural center alveole 14, saint nazaire LIN architects urbanists, berlin image © designboom



the pavilion reflects these ideas through a photographic installation of images by erica overmeer, representing the specific architecture projects at hand, acting as carriers of the exhibition’s content, papered directly onto the walls almost at full-scale. visitors enter the side entrance and walk freely through the otherwise ordered space, while simple platforms raised at varying levels create a dynamic space using the least amount of intervention. walkways, floors and walls are given the additional purpose of labeling, informing and displaying the large-format photographs as a direct example of reutilization.

large-scale photographs of the projects at hand are papered onto the walls image © designboom

schreber residence, aachen, amunt architekten martenson und nagel, theissen 2010-2011 photo © erica overmeer

urban renewal europarei uithoorn atelier kempe thill architects and planners, rotterdam 2004-2010 image © designboom

platforms arranged throughout the exhibition are positioned to offer viewers an alternative perspective of the work on show image © designboom

‘brunnenstrasse berlin’ by brandlhuber + ERA, emde, schneider, 2007-2010 (left) ‘building recycling’ by status quo 2012 (right) image © designboom

a visitor makes use of the walkway platforms, taking in the visuals from another level image © designboom

platforms, floors and walls act as informative objects image © designboom

exhibition designer konstantin grcic inside the german pavilion installation image © designboom

east wing of the museum of natural history, berlin diener & diener architekten, basel / berlin 2008-2010 photo © erica overmeer

captions and explanations are found on the floor and raised platforms of the exhibition the exhibition lettering is designed by thomas mayfried and swantje grundler image © designboom

platforms, floors and walls act as informative objects with image of ‘antivilla’ by krampnitz brandlhuber + emde, schneider’ at centre image © designboom

exhibition hand-outs image © designboom

installation view of ‘fichtelberg mountain hut’, tellerhäuser / erzgebirge, AFF architekten, berlin, 2009-2010 image © designboom

dornbusch church, frankfurt am main meixner schlüter wendt architekten, frankfurt am main 2003-2005 photo © erica overmeer

walkways become signage image © designboom

the flower shop in oberbarmen: the wupertal studio and seminar urs füssler, berlin / jörg leeser, cologne 2008-2009 photo © erica overmeer

galerie giti nourbakhsch, berlin robertneun TM, berlin 2006 photo © erica overmeer

outside the german pavilion, the 3Rs are emblazoned on the facade, introducing visitors to the themes addressed in the exhibition image © designboom

arrow directing visitors to the side entrance image © designboom

architect and commissioner muck petzet (left), exhibition designer konstantin grcic (right) image © designboom


  • I do appreciate real, unadorned with minimalist effect design.You made the 3 R’s in a really fantastic way then displayed a great imaginative and eco-friendly craftsmanship. Cool!

    Robin Wade says:
  • I like this fantastic pavilion

    Ross says:
  • Reduce Reuse Recycle is all well and good, but that BMW 740 looks bitchin,.

    efs says:
  • Sehr gut!!!

    dieter says:
  • GUTS! bare to the bone! bravo!

    leopoldo laguinge says:
  • Good exhibition! Thumbs up , for ‘Reduce’

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • Although I like the space as a museum. I keep thinking, Fahrenheit 451
    as an aside, the unfortunate picture of Muck and Konstantin…
    I do hope knostantin is searching for his keys to the pavillion!?

    Lennel says:
  • Bravo, Konstantin…there are some very cool tongue in cheek Trompe l’oeil effects that help to arrest one’s eye…long enough to force focus on the message, which , by the way, may be the most convincing and intelligent presentation of the issues. Totally bang on.

    Chaszr says:
  • Reduce..Reuse…Recycle…Really?? Why not take it all the way, and set up an auto printer for those who really WANT a paper handout…and are those electricity-sucking bulbs showing the way any better than say, day-glo paint? I see that is you put some unintelligible sentiment on a piece of marble, people will assume it means something, or it belongs. Sloppy photography, Third -World schoolhouse styling…time for a real Recyle ReUSeReDo. Belinda Stronach Foundation “A Computer for Every Child” is much more interesting than yet another group of self indulgent investment firm write-off BS. Sorry, but I gotta call it like I see it…hey Lucy, can you ‘splain what it that makes this worth a second glance? The 3 “r”s…Reuse, Recycle Reduce. Just the password to the magic kingdom it seems

    Pashmaniac says:

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