A brand new world is a free world
“Architecture cannot disregard the nature of the places around; that of being independent of the environment is an illusion” is the premise with which Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, have inaugurated Freespace, the 16th Architecture Biennale, which they have curated.
The keyword is generosity of spirit; the objective is to stimulate “new ways of seeing the world and inventing solutions in which architecture can provide for the well-being and dignity of every inhabitant of this fragile planet”. Object of inspection, as the name itself indicates, are the free spaces. An invitation to constantly reconsider our way of thinking and looking at the world around us, creating innovative architectural solutions that respond to the needs of the others. Freespace as a hymn, a cry, pure and without any reserve, to freedom, to the need to communicate and feel part of a single, fluid organic movement. A space of opportunity, democratic and unplanned, open to undefined uses where there is still plenty of room for everyone.
At the inauguration, the Holy See, which presents its first Vatican Chapel pavilion. A religious and secular pilgrimage altogether, consisting of ten stages, designed by as many architects who have come to Venice from every corner of the world: From Europe to distant Japan, from Latin America to the United States to remote Australia. A “widespread” route that unwinds through the trees and leads into the wood of the Island of San Giorgio dedicated to all those who wish to rediscover the beauty, silence, inner voice and solitude of the forest.
The installation is said to have been inspired by the chapel built by Gunnar Asplund in the Skogskyrkogården cemetery of Stockholm; he defined it as a place of orientation, encounter, meditation, casually or naturally formed within a vast tree-lined territory, intended as a physical evocation of the labyrinthine path of life and of the man’s pilgrimage awaiting the encounter. Thus the Vatican Chapel is embodied in complex architectures, ambos and altars that, in dialog, integrate with the nature that hosts them.
Like St. Francis, who, deprived of his material goods, took refuge in the forest in search of the essence of his existence, so the designers involved in planning the pavilion have abandoned tables, models and renderings, to achieve the very essence of architecture: to restore the eternal chaos of our world. A path that takes shape due to the experimentation and use of a wide range of materials, involving many companies in the sector: from ceramics to wood, from thin concrete to reinforced one, from steel to Pietra di Vicenza.
A journey to the rediscovery of silence, without destinations, where the environment is only a metaphor of the pilgrimage in life, in which modernity and spirituality meet to remind us of the indissoluble bond that has always united art and faith, which architecture, over the centuries, was able to tell so naturally.