The Spanish Pavilion: unfinished structures -Architecture Biennale 2016:

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: The Spanish Pavilion focuses on unfinished structures in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and architects who are developing a “radical” approach to rebuilding Spain.

Titled Unfinished, the pavilion presents a series of photographs of incomplete construction projects, alongside 55 recent buildings that demonstrate a range of solutions to working under economic constraints.

According to co-curator and architect Iñaqui Carnicero, the economic crisis – which hit Spain harder than many other European countries – forced local architects to become more resourceful.

Unfinished: the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Photograph by Fernando Maquieira
The main room of the Spanish pavilion displays photography of unfinished buildings in the country after the economic crash

The exhibition is a direct response to Biennale curator Alejandor Aravena’s request for architects to show work that responds to the major challenges in their countries as part of his theme, Reporting from the Front. The Spanish Pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion  for best national pavilion at the 2016 Biennale.

Unfinished: the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Photograph by Fernando Maquieira
Photographs by seven different artists are displayed on a steel frame that hangs from the ceiling

Carnicero and fellow curator and architect Carlos Quintáns Eiras collected photographs by seven different artists of structures they describe as “contemporary ruins”. These are displayed in the pavilion’s central space on steel frames hanging for the ceiling, and range from major construction projects to small private houses and apartments.

Carnicero said there were few places on earth where so many unnecessary construction projects had been started in such a short period of time, and then abandoned because they couldn’t be finished or maintained after the economy collapsed.

Unfinished: the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Photograph by Fernando Maquieira
New projects by Spanish architects are displayed in side rooms, grouped into nine categories

“Many of the buildings that were under construction remain unfinished,” said Carnicero. “We wanted to present this problem, but we didn’t want to do it in a narrative way. We didn’t want to find who was guilty or be complaining about it.”

“When you look at these pictures you discover a certain beauty, the beauty of architecture in process, the beauty of things that are meant to be hidden,” he said.

The rooms around the main space are devoted to displaying 55 contemporary projects in Spain or by Spanish architects, grouped into nine categories.

Unfinished: the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Photograph by Fernando Maquieira
Projects are displayed with photographs and drawings in wooden frames mounted on a steel structure to suggest and unfinished building
Unfinished: the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Photograph by Fernando Maquieira
A room at the rear shows video interviews with architects and academics, projected onto stack of empty cardboard boxes

 

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