Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: From Border to Home
The Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, exhibits ‘From Border to Home,’ an international architectural competition looking for contemporary proposals for housing especially in times of humanitarian crises.
“Today, Europe’s challenge is less about building new cities than about transforming existing ones to create a more balanced and inclusive society,” says Marco Steinberg, curator of the Finnish Pavilion. “In this context, architecture must regain its capacity to shape not just the design of buildings, but also the design of social solutions. By combining these two capacities, architecture can help crystallise the principles of better housing”.
The winning proposals provide fresh, young-generation perspectives to future housing from airbnb-type proposals to partially built houses.
‘Enter the Void,’ a proposal by a German team Duy Tran, Lukas Beer, Ksenija Zdesar and Otto Beer focuses on the repurposing opportunities offered by vacant office space to meet the varying housing needs of asylum-seekers in the early stages after their arrival in the country. “The concept capitalises on our existing building stock, infrastructure and service network,” says the jury of the proposal. “It is thus societally, socially and economically well-reasoned and sustainable.”
‘Society Lab’ by Cecilia Danieli, Omri Revesz, Mariana Riobom from Italy proposes a cost-efficient mobile app concept to match supply with demand for housing. “The proposal’s sensitive approach to comprehensively meeting a broad spectrum of human needs is ingenious,” praises the jury that consisted of representatives from the Finnish Red Cross, Finnish Ministry of Interior, the Finnish Refugee Council, and the architecture profession.
The third winning proposal ‘We House Refugees’ by A-Konsultit Architects, Milja Lindberg assisted by Christopher Erdman, seeks to achieve major-scale systemic changes by rethinking today’s building codes. The proposal aims to ease the housing shortage by increasing the capacity of the existing building stock in line with fluctuating levels of demand.
In addition to the three winners, the jury gave special mentions to three other proposals: ‘From Border to School’ by Ville-Pekka Ikola, Tuomas Niemelä, Antti Karsikas and Kalle Vahtera from alt Architects [www.alt-architects.com]; ’Helsinki Kasbah’ by Harri Ahokas, Tomi Laine, Akseli Leinonen, Nikolai Rautio, Matias Saresvuo assisted by Pekka Huima and consulted by Pia Rautiainen; and ’IMBY – In My Backyard’ by Romain Minod, Ruben Salvador Torres, Hani Jaber Ávila, Héctor Muñoz Mendoza, Daniel Millor Vela, Ricardo Mayor Luque and Ignacio Taus Jiménez.
The exhibition is complemented by a programme of talks and ‘From Border to Home’ blog, which invites architects, curators and the general audience to reflect on and expand the dialogue.
‘From Border to Home’ is commissioned by Juulia Kauste, the director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The exhibition and associated program at the Finnish pavilion are realised by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Architecture Information Centre Finland, with support from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland.