14th Venice Architecture biennale | part 2

Place: Venice, Country: Italy
La Biennale di Venezia
14 th Architecture Biennale
curator: Rem Koolhaas
Text: Federica Lusiardi, Inexhibit
Photos: Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit


14th Venice Architecture Biennale | eoa. Elements of Architecture
Central Pavilion, Giardini

by Federica Lusiardi, Inexhibit

Ceiling, window, floor, wall, stair, balcony, door…: Elements of Architecture, one of the three exhibitions that constitute the 14th Architecture Biennale of Venice, concretely presents the basic elements of architecture, after a 2-years research project developed by the students of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, led by Rem Koolhaas.
The letters that form the alphabet of every designer, always and in all places, have been investigated in their details: every element that contributes to architecture in all its complexity is the result of persistences (some elements are unchanged since 3,000 years) and re-inventions (rarely brand new inventions); so an architectural project could be considered as a mosaic of old and new, every tile of which embodies in its own DNA the remembrance of its evolution.


The first room, entitled “ceiling”, correlates the two types of ceiling, curved and flat, reciprocally embodying the desire for emblematic architectural shapes and the requirements of rationality and pragmatism.




The central hall introduces the Elements exhibition through a multimedia installation made of essays on architectural elements coming from all over the world; from specialized magazines to catalogues, from a video-projection with excerpts by films where architectural elements plays a main role, to a mashrabiya overlooking the gallery.


A collection of windows by the the  Brooking National Collection of Architectural Detail, an institution that collects and preserves architectural elements saved from demolitions and refurbishments of historical buildings in Britain.


The fireplace is an element that once embodied many functions: heating, cooking, lighting and place for meeting. Today those functions are provided by different devices, often hidden inside the building structure.



Wall. In this installation different wall typologies, juxtaposed as books in a bookshelf, show their layered structure and the complexity concealed in their cross-sections.


A deteails of one of the installations dedicated to the floor, in this case transformed in a playful, interactive and glowing surface.


Doors. A picture of the Hochosterwitz Castle, in Austria, on which its various access points, as well as the related securing systems conceived by an Italian architect in the 16th century, are highlighted.



Balcony is presented as an element that connects inside and outside but also as a stage for harangues and political declarations.


Toilets. The latrine shaped like a chariot found in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome is placed side by side with and an ultra-modern Japanese washlet, which additionally provides music, heating, lighting and air freshening.

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Giardini della Biennale

Built in 1807, the Giardini della Biennale (Biennale’s Gardens) is the main venue of the annual art and architecture exhibitions of the Venice Biennale

More about Rem Koolhaas – OMA / AMO

Rem Koolhaas – OMA / AMO

Rem Koolhaas – OMA / AMO

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