September 27, 2012

What’s Stopping Crowds at the 2012 Venice Biennale

We weren’t really looking at the architecture. This was the guilty thought that surfaced with sudden clarity last week while we strolled through the pavilions at the Giardini and the massive halls of the Arsenale, the largest pre-industrial production center of the world, for the architecture edition of the Venice Biennale. In fact, there didn’t seem to be that much of it.

Instead, what’s been stopping visitors in their tracks at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, on view through November 25, are the voyeuristic peepholes of the Brazilian pavilion by StudioMK27‘s Marcio Kogan, which give a steamy eyeful of the drama (including nudity) unfolding between the occupants of a luxury villa in São Paulo, Brazil. Or the floating trees in the hydroponic installation “Selgasacno al Aire” (Between Air) at the Spanish pavilion. Or the swirling digital imagery that flashes across walls and floors in a heady rush of information at Foster + Partners‘ installation.

The New York Times suggests we were not alone in both our search for architecture – and attraction to what wasn’t – in its article Projects Without Architects Steal the Show. And while author Michael Kimmelman gives a resoundingly negative review, calling the exhibition “alas, a missed opportunity,” a series of arresting visual images remain. See for yourself.

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