Gondola! Gondola!

Venice and the Netherlands have quite a few things in common. And you don’t need much imagination to notice it, as “water” and “maritime power of yore” almost sum things up. Which is why both aspects will not just play a subordinate role when Koolhaas endeavors to shed light on the past, present and future of the discipline of “architecture” with the show on “Fundamentals”. Or does a consideration of the foundations and underlying elements of building (from walls to windows, from floor to roof), such as Koolhaas intends to assemble in the “Elements of Architecture” exhibition in the central pavilion, not concern itself with the task of creating stable foundations, and not just on the unstable muddy grounds of lagoons?

The overarching theme of “Absorbing Modernity 1914 – 2014”, which Koolhaas has set as his recommendation for the national pavilions, is intended to explore whether and how architecture with a local or national face is being fast replaced by a seemingly interchangeable form of global building. It’ll be interesting to see who has absorbed what or whom. And then, under the banner of “Monditalia”, Italy itself as the host of the show will be portrayed in many different aspects in the Arsenale. Along with a gondola of course! Will Rem Koolhaas be singing while steering his slender boat? Not that probable, methinks. (tw)

14th Architecture Biennale Venice
June 7 thru Nov. 23, 2014