21 Century Giardini: New Itineraries.

otherothers conducts UTS Masters of Architecture special project.

In announcing his theme for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, Reporting From The Front, Alejandro Aravena declared that “architecture is about looking at reality” and that “any effort to tackle relevant issues has to overcome the increasing complexity of the world.” Yet the architecture of the Venice Biennale itself embodies an idealised world-in-miniature, free of the complexities, confusions and conflicts of the world-at-large. Within the Giardini, former Colonial powers occupy prominent permanent pavilions on the Napoleonic promenade, while other countries, including those of present-day significance, are consigned to the periphery or relegated to temporary off-site spaces. The environment is timeless, picturesque, serene: hardly representative of the world’s “increasing complexity.” Why should the best-located national pavilions, established over a century ago, assume importance by default, while more populous or powerful nations struggle for attention? If the buildings themselves are fixed in place, must the pathways between be too?

This project attempts to addresses the widening divide between the world as represented by the Biennale and the global reality. UTS Masters students will produce drawings that re-map the Giardini, providing Biennale visitor itineraries that prioritise pavilions based on real-world and present day criteria. While one map might lead the visitor on a tour of nations with the largest economies, another might feature nations currently at war. A map of newest Biennale participants would create a snapshot of the developing world, while a map of nations with most construction projects might identify a new axis of architectural power.