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international bureau of memory


Call | Belgian pavilion

Biennale Architettura 2020

Vlaamse Instituut voor Architectuur

The Giardini Publici, which from 1895 onwards would become the location for the Venice Biennale, were created around 1810 when Venice was effectively reigned by Napoleon Bonaparte. To create the Giardini, two churches belonging to monasteries, the chiesa di San Domenico and the chiesa di Sant'Antonio, were demolished. The debris was used to consolidate the terrain on which the Gardini subsequently were constructed. The church of Sant’Antonio is especially of interest. Its position, as shown on Jacopo de Barbari’s famous Vedutta di Venezia from 1500 and on documents from the Napoleonic era, coincided with the contemporary entrance to the Biennale. This meant that, since Venice was only accessible via the sea, the church was the very first one any traveller arriving in Venice would have seen.

An anastylosis of the church of Sant’Antonio will be constructed out of Styrofoam within and around the Belgian pavilion. This memory of the location on which the Belgian pavilion is built will create a link with the archive of chapels. However, by building this anastylosis out of Styrofoam, a material used in architecture for model making, only the architectural form of the church of Sant’Antonio will be represented. The  Styrofoam will act as a blank mould on which
the visitors of the pavilion can project their own memories of chapels and churches and as such design their own fictional chapel based on memory.

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