Dominican Republic | 14th Biennale
Curator: Laboratorio de Architectura Dominicana (LAD)
Exhibition design: Shohei Shigematzu
Fair concrete / La feria concreta
Dominican Republic Pavilion
The pavilion of the Dominican Republic at the Venice Biennale narrates the history of modern architecture in the Caribbean Country since 1930, when hurricane San Zénon destroyed a large part of the timber building in the capital, Santo Domingo. The regime, which had gained the power short before, took the occasion to express its authority by radically changing the planning regulations in the Country, making concrete the mandatory material for the re-construction of Santo Domingo, which was renamed Ciudad Tujillo. Thus concrete became in people’s mind a synonym for progress and modernity. A symbol of such process is the construction, in 1955, of the Feria de la Paz y Confraternidad del Mundo Libre, an international fair aimed to present the Nation as a leading country in the Caribbean region. The buildings and the public areas realized for the Feria still exist today and represent an example of contradictions, since during the day they are occupied by Government institutions, while at night the site becomes a place for illegal activities.
The exhibition, curated by the Laboratorio de Architectura Dominicana (LAD) and designed by Shohei Shigematzu is truly captivating.
Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014
Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 is an invitation to the national pavilions to show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in architecture in favor of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language and a single repertoire of typologies – a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical inventions, and hidden ways of remaining “national”.
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