Federal Councillor Alain Berset officially opened the Swiss Pavilion at the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice this afternoon. Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist is responsible for the pavilion’s installation, a laboratory for exploring the future of architecture and urban planning. In addition, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, which is responsible for Switzerland’s presence at the biennale, has again created a platform for international knowledge exchange with a series of events under the heading «Salon Suisse» at Palazzo Trevisan.
In front of a large audience, Swiss Federal Counsillor Alain Berset officially opened the Swiss Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia this afternoon. At the Swiss Pavilion located in Venice’s Giardini, Hans Ulrich Obrist, one of Switzerland’s best-known curators, takes visitors on a journey through architecture’s recent past. The installation entitled «Lucius Burckhardt and Cedric Price – A stroll through a fun palace» is based on the works of sociologist Lucius Burckhardt from Basel and English architect Cedric Price, author of the unrealized project Fun Palace. The retrospective dedicated to these two visionaries, both of whom died shortly after the turn of the millennium, is intended as a reflexion on architecture and urban planning in the 21st century. Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron were responsible for designing the retrospective. Hans Ulrich Obrist, who has a reputation for calling into question the traditional exhibition format, has not created a display in the classical sense. Instead, he has converted the pavilion into a laboratory for exploring issues around the future role of architecture in our society. The Swiss Pavilion thereby fits well into the overall concept of Rem Koolhaas, the Director of this year’s Biennale, who invited all national pavilions to contribute to the exploration of modern-day life.
Summer Academy on Architecture
Also part of this laboratory is a summer school on architecture, the «Swiss Summer School». It connects participants with a worldwide network of thought leaders and researchers. Architecture colleges from different countries will be present at the pavilion for one week each and publish their results on an ongoing basis. A start will be made by ETH Zurich followed by, among others, the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) from London and Harvard University from the US.
Evening Encounters at «Salon Suisse»
The Architecture Biennale in Venice, which opens today and lasts until 23 November, regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is responsible for Switzerland’s presence at what is considered the most important platform for architecture in the world. As a second feature besides the pavilion, Pro Helvetia is again organising a series of events under the heading «Salon Suisse» at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi. This year’s series is called «The next 100 years – Scenarios for an Alpine City State» and is curated by the architects and urbanists Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer, who both work in Zurich. It will open tomorrow in the presence of Federal Counsillor Alain Berset. Up to November, several blocks of events at the «Salon» will highlight a variety of questions relating to urbanisation and urban planning.
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Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Media Release, 6 June 2014