In terms of world architecture, there is no greater international platform than the Venice Biennale. Showcasing architectural pavilions from all around the world, the exhibition is an up-close and personal taste of the architecture industry.
It is for this reason that being chosen to create a country’s pavilion is as much a great responsibility as it is an excellent opportunity. Architectural firm 4568796 Architects, in collaboration with the University of Manitoba instructor Jae-Sung Chon, was chosen to represent Canada on the world stage.
This design cohort has been dubbed the Migrating Landscapes Organizer (MLO), a title that refers to the pavilion’s umbrella ‘migrating landscapes’ theme. The theme relates to rapid globalization and the challenges this poses to the global industry.
The theme will play a pivotal role in the development of the pavilion, both in its uniqueness and in the way that it compliments and resonates with the overall biennale theme ‘common ground.’
“The biennale’s theme of common ground resonates with migrating landscapes, which questions socio-political borders, the migration of people and ideas, and, at its core, exposes attitudes we all hold of others, consciously or unconsciously,” said the architects. “MLO has designed a wooden exhibition infrastructure that acts as a conceptual landscape onto which each architectural dwelling is settled, with each model representing an act of first im/migration. Landscape is envisioned as a grid mosaic – an abstraction of the physical (configuration), social (relationship), economic (size) and political (hierarchy) conditions that form canada’s pluralistic cultural identity.”
According to Chon, the Canadian built environment, much like its population, features a unique blend of cultural influences, and that it is something to be celebrated and recognized.
“I would say as a first-generation immigrant, it’s quite possible that other world audiences (are) interested in how their heritage is played up in Canadian landscapes,” said Chon.
The biennale is in essence, a chance to catch a glimpse of the workings of the various international industries, what guides them, what interests them and what aids in the formation of trends around the world.
With an architectural theme that links to the very foundation of Canadian culture, the architects have found an incredibly fitting way to best present this nation.