04. September 2012 / Peter Zöch
Venice Architecture Biennale: impressions from a landscape perspective
Every two years, the international architectural world meets in Venice for introspection. Last week marked the official opening of the 13th Architecture Biennale. David Chipperfield, the curator, chose Common Ground as the theme – a theme that encompasses common ideas, influences and visions, and also deals with the scenes of daily life and “the users”. A broad and worthy concern that landscape architects might expect. And it actually begins promising. In his audio-visual installation Gateway Norman Foster presents urban squares, parks, public spaces - places where people can meet, share and recover. On the ground, he projects the names of architects, critics, landscape architects, designers and planners who have influenced the respective profession and developed visions within it.
Norman Foster's audio-visual installation Gateway at the Venice Architecture Biennale focuses on public spaces (photo: Wolfgang Bachmann), check out the video in which Foster describes the installation below.
After this prelude, one could (as a landscape architect) expect the “common ground” of our cities will be reassessed here. That the potentials and future of public space will be negotiated, that innovative examples of open-space design will be presented. However, those who walk through the exhibition with this expectation may be disappointed. One can of course find interesting, exciting and inspiring content – little wonder, with the wealth of material available.
We will in the coming days (in no particular order) post various interpretations on the theme Common Ground, along with any particular country-contributions that we find interesting from a landscape architectural perspective.
By the way, a final point of the exhibition at Arsenale places Piet Oudolf in the Giardino delle Vergini. Next to the Arsenale exit, the plant maestro composed a garden ready for the 2010 Biennale, meant as a space to provide peace. For this year's Biennale, he freshened up the plantings. Upon seeing his well-composed plant arrangements, you may not shake the suspicion that this is what the architects still believe landscape architects do all day – arrange plants.
The 13th Venice Architecture Biennale opened on August 29, and will run until November 25.
Image above: Piet Oudolf