Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Nordic Therapy
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.