At the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale this year, the UK responded to the main theme of ’free space’ with the ‘Island’ project.
This bold project, which approached Brexit from the perspective of architecture, brought the first award given to the British Pavilion for architecture.
Here is the courage: At the entrance to the pavilion, we see stairs leading up to the top of the building. When we ask ‘What is upstairs?’ the representative at the bottom of the staircase says we can sit outdoors and have tea at 4 o’clock. We’re on time! Mint tea warms us up. The view of the lagoon from above is great. And when we come down to see the exhibition, it doesn’t take much time to see the content. Because the pavilion is completely empty.
When we return to London, I watch the introduction video of the exhibition. ‘The UK pavilion has always been in this rather privileged position, covering it in scaffolding slightly undercuts that’ says Peter St John from the curatorial team, with a laugh. It seems that there was this laugh in the ‘free space’ of the pavilion.
The terrace, which was constructed on the roof by the scaffolding, represented the island together with the lagoon that completed the view. ‘As a metaphor the island can be a place of refuge or exile’, says the artist Marcus Taylor from the exhibition team. ‘We are in a period where we question our relationship with Europe.
I think so.