Venice 2016 – The refugee emergency is one of Europe major issues… At Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 the German, Austrian and Finnish pavilions focus on how architects can contribute to transform such emergency into an opportunity, and challenge populists’ propagandas and post-crisis issues. ArchiPanic spoke to the pavilions curators who pointed out how the immigration can be a chance to understand the values of Europe itself.
The German pavilion exhibition is Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country: a response to the fact that over 1 million refugees arrived in Germany during 2015, and another million will come by the end of this year. “The need for housing is urgent, but just as urgent is the need for new ideas and reliable approaches to integration” said curator Oliver Elser at DAM – Deutches Arkitekturemuseum.
The pavilion at Giardini welcome guests as an building that can be walked through from any possible side to symbolise a welcoming country with no borders. The exhibition is divided in three sections: the first one surveys physical refugee shelters – the actual solutions that have been built to cope with the acute need.
The second part seeks to define the conditions that must be present in an Arrival City in order to turn refugees into immigrants. The third section of the exhibition aims to make a statement about the contemporary political situation.
RELATED STORIES: Read more about 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale on ArchiPanic…
Titled From Border to Home, Finland Pavilion at Giardini, showacases the proposals of a national competion launched by curator Marco Steinberg. “The refugee emergency triggered question not really about the refugees themselves about European values” says Steinberg to ArchiPanic.
“What we did is to look at the emergency not as an issue but as an opportunity”. According to the curator, the pressure posed by immigration actually brings up the social emergencies that have been neglected in EU countries so far.
“How is it possible that in Helsinki we have over 30% of vacant office spaces and a shortage of housing for people in need? How come students can’t find an affordable place to live in while many elderly people feel lonely in large apartments in the city? Why public spaces are desgned for one single purpose? It’s a matter of optimisimation. The refugee emergency offers us the chance to deal with these issues as well” adds Steinberg.
Austria pavilion might look like a walk through building. But beware. There is a honourable reality check behind that supposed “emptiness”. Curators decided to devolve the budget given by the Government for the Venician participation to a no profit organisation that looks after refugees in Vienna. The exhibition is just a starting point that comes in the shape of a magazine and posters. Check them out at www.ortefuermenschen.at or collect them on site.