On Hold

A radical proposal to reimagine a national pavilion at Venice Biennale

Public buildings

Exhibition design



Shortlist. Competition entry, exhibition project. Venice Biennale of Architecture.

The team has pushed competition guidelines to the extreme by writing a manifesto that suggests putting the reconstruction of a Biennial Pavilion on hold and instead stripping the building of its structural elements (roof, doors, windows) to create a radically open space conducive to contemplation and observation.

The central idea of the project was to revise the very function and meaning of the Biennial Pavilions in today’s world. The team suggested taking a pause and questioning the brief (something that architects rarely have a chance to do with commissions) as well as opening up the process of questioning to colleagues and the public by opening up the process of transformation of the pavilion. Through its potential to accommodate insight, this open process allowed one to discover an appreciation in moments of transition rather than harbouring a fear of them.

It is certainly interesting to note the timing. The manifesto was written in January, 2020, a month before the pandemic. By questioning the necessity of the hectic international annual cultural events and the high speed of development and construction the team basically proposed to put the world on hold. The unintended prophecy was fulfilled mere weeks later.