People meet in architecture? (introduction)

I’ve recently returned from visiting the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice, the one so ambiguously called “People meet in architecture”, directed by one of the most interesting architects of our times: Kazuyo Sejima. Let’s think for a second at the calm and serenity that SANAA’s architecture transmits and we’ll be introduced to the state of mind necessary to go through this year’s main exhibition in the Arsenale. More than ever a certain state of mind was necessary, because without it what is exposed there might seem simple or naive at first glimpse, and if we add a state of hastiness in seeing everything fast, one might surely miss the essential truths of the exhibition.

Patience for the 12th Biennale.

Why did I say ambiguously called “People meet in Architecture”? There was a sense of duality in this exhibition. It was an exhibition of architectures where people meet, therefore people meet in an architecture , but in the same time an exhibition of architecture made by people by their presence, therefore, people meeting create architecture, in a sense closely linked to Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics.

The people meet in an architecture part was a very wide subject, from buildings where people are bound to meet (one might say obligated to meet) like theatres (Toyo Ito in the Arsenale) or schools to buildings viewed as social generators, be they small or large. But we’ll get back on that in later posts mostly regarding the national pavilions.

For the second part, the main exhibition is the most relevant. It is a succession of atmospheres that create space with other means than visual aids. A type of intellectual space that you must experience with your eyes closed so that you can feel its full potential. A space understood differently and perceived differently according to each visitor; that addresses and creates a relation with the individual. In the same time, it cannot be understood without others around you, so a relation with other individuals must be established, but each time, the type of encounter is different. Meet someone in the clouds, meet someone in the fog, in a mirror, or drinking tea in a traditional fisherman’s hut. Meet someone in the light, meet someone on the screen, meet someone in a second, meet someone in your mind.

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