EUPavilion is a laboratory of research on the relationship between architecture and the European Union. The laboratory is working with a number of partnersIuav University of Venice, Europe City Project, BookBiennale organising public eventsTowards a European Architecturein the framework of Europe City Milano festival in May 2019, EUPavilion curated “Towards a European Architecture” a public debate between architects and urbanists Stefano Boeri, Paola Viganò and Pier Paolo Tamburelli hosted by the Triennale di Milano, educational activities in July 2019 EUPavilion was invited to run a workshop during W.A.Ve. 2019 at Iuav University in Venice
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and publishing essays[1] The Giardini of the Biennale di Venezia. Dialogue and Clashes between National and International Aspirations;[This essay was originally published on “Supervenice” Vesper, Journal of Architecture, Arts & Theory No. 1, Fall-Winter 2019, Università Iuav di Venezia, Dipartimento di Culture del Progetto. Quodlibet ISBN 9788822904164] Designed by Giannantonio Selva at Napoleon’s behest in the early nineteenth century, the public gardens, a characterising element of the bourgeois city, constitute an instance of radical discontinuity in the Venetian urban fabric, which quite naturally changed into the free territory destined to accommodate the cultural embassies of the countries that joined the International Art Exhibition during the 20th century. This free zone was open to architectural experimentation, but it has also become an inter- national stage on which we continue to uphold, first and foremost, ‘the importance of being there’. The geopolitical transformations affecting the Western world during this same period had a fundamental impact on the relationships between the pavilions and the evolution of their languages in the framework of a continuous conflict between the desire to affirm national identities and international aspirations.
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[2] Il faut être absolument européen![This essay was originally published on the catalog of the 2019 summer workshops held at Iuav University in Venice: W.A.Ve. 2019 Venezia città sostenibile edited by Marco Ballarin, Daniela Ruggeri, Anteferma Edizioni 2020 ISBN: 9788832050714] The relevance of Venice in the international cultural scene constitutes one of the main characters of the city. We believe that this specific vocation – typically embodied by the Biennale – could open the way for a "sustainable" urban project. Thus, we propose to focus on the spaces of production of culture, critically reconsidering the Giardini della Biennale – the place of origin of the cultural vocation of Venice – through the design of a new type of Pavilion. The National Pavilions inside the Giardini della Biennale are bound by relationships that allow a clear reading of the historical development of the site and present through their form a vivid image of the political will of the nations that built them at that very moment in history. Such anachronistic relationship calls for a new model of pavilion that goes beyond the national paradigm. The project of a European Pavilion for the Biennale will have to tackle this issue, trying at the same time to reflect on the relationship between the European institutions and architecture and the meaning of a European “monument” while relating to some of the typical characters of the European historical city of which Venice is a paradigmatic case.
and interviewsArchitecture and European identity. A conversation with Romano Prodi[This essay will be published on the forthcoming issue of Ardeth. A magazine on the power of the project: “Ardeth #07 EUROPE. Architecture, Infrasturcture, Territory”, Rosenberg & Sellier 2020] The purpose of EUPavilion is to reactivate the debate on Europe as a cultural entity and not simply as a political-economic union. This debate, which enjoyed a particularly lively moment around the year 2000 concomitant with the introduction on the single currency and the eastward enlargement of the European Union, came to a stop with the failure of the European Constitution project and was definitively overwhelmed by the arrival of the 2008 economic crisis. Now with a view to restarting the process twenty years later we thought it would be useful later to revisit some of the key events of the time with Romano Prodi, the Italian politician who more than any other contributed to consolidating the European integration process. This website is conceived as the growing archive of the research being carried out by the laboratory. EUPavilion is a collaborative effort that brings together architects, scholars, photographers, designers. As citizens and designers, we acknowledge architecture as a fundamental aspect of an inclusive and democratic public realm. In the light of the current debate around the strengthening of the European integration, we argue that a critical reconsideration of the spaces where this process happens is a fundamental aspect of the collective character of the European project. The EUPavilion project aims to raise awareness of the public on these issues, by means of design. With its long-standing tradition of exhibitions based on an architectural briefStarting from the renowned Strada Novissima by Paolo Portoghesi in 1980, the Biennale has commissioned architectural projects on various occasions. Some of these exhibitions were based on actual needs and development projects of the Biennale spaces, like the Padiglione Italia competition in 1988, which saw 12 prominent Italian architects reflecting on the reconstruction of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini as a modern museum facility for the city of Venice.
Some other had a more speculative approach, like the very first international architecture exhibition organised by the Biennale in 1975: “A proposito del Molino Stucky” which presented theoretical proposals for the massive brick building
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the Venice Biennale and the typology of the pavilion provide an ideal testing ground for a new kind of European public building. It is now clear how the saturation of the GiardiniStudy for a Pavilion, Giorgio de Vecchi
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brought about by the pavilions is not only physical but also ideological insofar as it was born out of a twentieth-century national paradigm.
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Breaking this paradigm means creating the conditions to ask questions about new representative languages, with the understanding that, albeit free from localist drives, pavilions continue to be fundamental as instruments of identity assertion.