In Therapy - Nordic pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016, Venice, Italy
Marge Arkitekter

The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale featured the Nordic exhibition ‘In Therapy - Nordic Countries Face to Face’ initiated by ArkDes, Nasjonalmuseet and the Museum of Finnish Architecture and curated by David Basulto and James Taylor Foster. The exhibition corresponded to the head commissioner Alejandro Aravena’s theme for the greater architecture biennale ‘Reporting from the front’, but sprang from the modern day realities of the Nordic countries. 

‘In Therapy’ is an inspiration from the world of psychoanalysis and presents 300 Nordic projects that signify the past, present and future. At the center of the pavilion rises a pyramid which calls to mind Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The pyramid is a staircase that becomes seating during presentations and provides a display surface for the project’s description. 

The pyramid relates to Sverre Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion in several ways. Its proportions mimic the pavilion’s existing stairways as well as its function as a rest spot for a much needed break. Together with Sverre Fehn’s stairway the pyramid creates an amphitheater for talks and panel debates.

Sverre Fehn drew on influences from traditional timber construction and designed the pavilion’s characteristic roof with thin concrete slats. Taking the timber inspiration further Marge Arkitekter relied on contemporary timber construction techniques. The stairway is made of heavy rough-cut boards that interweave meticulously at the joints. The choice of timber focuses on sustainability but is also a common feature of the Nordic countries.
The gaps between the steps make apparent the pyramid's construction and offer glimpses of the trees in the pavilion. The layering of the steps also corresponds to the concrete slats of the roof and invites you to climb up close and experience the pavilion from a perspective above the floor level.

The pyramid sits at an angle to the room in order to create distinctive spaces along its sides. The surrounding rooms complete with divans evoke the sense of a 20th century psychiatric practice.

In these spaces the visitor can get a deeper understanding for nine selected projects through films highlighting interviews with the architects. 

Wednesday 29 Mar 2017

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