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Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Nordic Therapy

Jun 6, 2016
The Nordic Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia sets architecture from the Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden and Norway – to reflect on the state of the Nordic welfare society.In the exhibition ‘In Therapy: Nordic Countries Face to Face,’ the...
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Text by Heini Lehtinen
Photography by Matti Östling

The Nordic Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia sets architecture from the Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden and Norway – to reflect on the state of the Nordic welfare society.

In the exhibition ‘In Therapy: Nordic Countries Face to Face,’ the Nordic welfare society is presented through 287 architectural projects. It positions Finland, Sweden and Norway in a psychoanalytical frame to investigate and question what is commonly perceived as contemporary Nordic architecture. ‘In Therapy’ relates to Alejandro Aravena’s theme of the Biennale Architettura 2016 – ‘Reporting from the Front– by focusing on specific challenges being faced in the Nordic region.

A total of 500 submissions were received following an open call, in which architects were asked to frame their work in context of the Nordic society. The structure of the exhibition is based on a three-step categorisation that follows the structure of Abraham Maslow’s 1954 Hierarchy of Needs – a theory proposing basic and complex motivational ‘needs,’ which represent the progress of the individual. The projects are categorised into ‘Foundational,’ architecture that cares for basic needs; ‘Belonging,’ architecture that enacts public programs and creates public space; and ‘Recognition,’ architecture that recognises and reflects the Nordic society as the embodiment of a highly developed nation.

The exhibition is curated by David Basulto, co-founder and editor-in-chief of ArchDaily. Basulto, from Chile, has been assisted by British designer and writer, ArchDaily’s European editor-at-large James Taylor-Foster [http://james.tf], who currently resides in the Netherlands.

“As ‘outsiders,’ we are in a position from which to curatorially observe and appreciate the submitted projects for their individuality as well as for their historical, contextual and societal connections,” says Basulto. “We believe that this is an incredibly strong collection of projects indicative of the breadth, depth and nuanced challenges which Nordic architects currently face.”

The exhibition is located at the Nordic Pavilion, designed by Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn in 1962. The exhibition design by Marge Arkitekter bases Nordic architecture in a psychoanalytical setting, and is based on an interpretation of Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

The Nordic participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 is a collaboration between the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki, the National Museum’s Department of Architecture in Oslo, and ArkDes – The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design [www.arkdes.se] in Stockholm.

Venice Architecture Biennale from 28 May–27 November 2016, Venice, Italy.

James Taylor-Foster, photo: Matti-Östling
James Taylor-Foster
01_Nordic_DavidBasulto-2015-45_8_photo_Matti-Östling
David Basulto
05_Nordic_Venedig-2014-59_photo_Matti-Östling
10_Nordic_Venedig-2016-190_photo_Matti-Östling
09_Nordic_Venedig-2016-175_photo_Matti-Östling
08_Nordic_Venedig-2016-174_photo_Matti-Östling
06_Nordic_Venedig-2016-80_photo_Matti-Östling
07_Nordic_Venedig-2016-89_photo_Matti-Östling
04_Nordic_copyright_laurian_ghinitoiu_nordic (41 of 49)
03_Nordic_copyright_laurian_ghinitoiu_nordic (21 of 49)
Trädhotellet Harads 2010/09
Trädhotellet Harads 2010/09
18_TheNationalTouristRouteTrollstigen_ReiulfRamstadArchitects__Recognition_Norway__Photo_Diephotodesigner.de
The National Tourist Route Trollstigen by Reiulf Ramstad Architects, Photo: Diephotodesigner.de
17_TheFinnishNatureCenter_Lahdelma_Mahlamäki__Recognition_Finland__Photo_MikaHuisman
The Finnish Nature Center Lahdelma Mahlamäki, Photo: Mika Huisman
16_TheNewCrematoriumWoodlandCemetary_JohanCelsingArchitects__Belonging_Sweden__Photo_IoanaMarinescu
The New Crematorium Woodland Cemetary by Johan Celsing Architects, Photo: Ioana Marinescu
Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand, Norway designed by ALA architects.
Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand, Norway designed by ALA architects.
Seinäjoen Apila kirjasto - Apila library in Seinäjoki, Finland designed by JKMM Architects
Seinäjoen Apila kirjasto - Apila library in Seinäjoki, Finland designed by JKMM Architects
13_RååDaycareCenter_DorteMandrup__Foundational_Sweden__Photo_AdamMørk
Råå Daycare Center by Dorte Mandrup, Foundational Sweden, Photo: AdamMørk
12_HaldenPrison_ErikMøllerArchitects+HLMArchitecture__Foundational_Norway__Photo_TrondIsaksen.jpg
Halden Prison Erik Mølle r Architects + HLM Architecture, Photo: TrondIsaksen.jpg
11_PuukuokkaHousingBlock_OOPEAA__Foundational_Finland__Photo_MikkoAuerniitty
Puukuokka Housing Block by OOPEAA, Photo: Mikko Auerniitty
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