canadian pavilion

OPEN @ La Biennale di Venezia

September 25, 2012

The Venice Biennale is an annual event with its focus alternating each year between art, architecture, film, music and dance.   This year, the 13th International Architecture Exhibition runs from August 29th to November 25th.

Considered to be the ‘Olympics of Architecture’, it was a great honour for OPEN to participate as one of 18 groups forming the Canadian entry. It was made possible by the generosity and hard work of the Migrating Landscapes organisers, Jae-Sung Chon and the team from 5468796 led by Johanna Hurme and Sasa Radulovic. 

OPEN had the good fortune to spend 2 weeks in Venice setting up the installation, participating in the Biennale events and exploring the other exhibits. The following is a record of our adventure.

When we arrived inside the Canadian Pavilion we found ourselves in a sea of wood. Although it wasn’t yet finished, the space was already looked great! MLO installed mirrors on the walls and fabricated floor tile from the wood to maximize the effect of the wood. 

We set forth installing our model. The pieces had gotten mixed up at customs when they were shipped to Italy so it was a bit of a puzzle to put them together.

There was much contemplation regarding how models should be assembled.

A large amount of control and focus was required.

Mark carefully placing a portion of the model under Robyn’s watchful eye.

Teamwork requires support from both sides.

Luckily for OPEN, the installation of our model went very smoothly.

These are some photos of the model in the pavilion before the Biennale began and flood gates opened.

The Biennale opened on August 29th. This is Sasa, Johanna and Jae-Sung inaugurating the Canadian Pavilion two days before.

Inside was a sea of wood and outside was a sea of pink!

Above the pink sea, the towering neon pink columns acted as beacons calling visitors to the pavilion.

The videos for each model played on screens that were integrated into the wooden landscape.

We’d always thought that the model was a lot of fun to take photos through. It turned out other people thought so too!

Out on the street, MLO had coloured the city pink with posters provoking viewers to communicate their thoughts about migration and architecture in Canada.

We were thrilled to meet up with our former professor at Dalhousie University, Brian Lilley. Brian was Regional Coordinator of the maritime leg of the Migrating Landscapes competition.

The Biennale was also a fantastic opportunity to connect with the other teams who participated in the Canadian Pavilion. This is Imu Chan whose Migrating Landscapes contribution with Mira Yung was an exquisite model and video.

We left the Biennale just as things were getting into full swing. Participating in the event was a phenomenal experience that we are grateful to have had. Thank you to our friends, families, firms and sponsors for helping us at each stage and enabling OPEN to be part of the 2012 Venice Biennale.

Photographs by: OPEN, Blog post by: Victoria


Here’s a link to our original post: Migrating Landscapes: re/settlements.

The StarPhoenix: Architects compete at Venice Biennale.

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