Vicky Richardson, commissioner of the British Pavilion, on the Villa Frankenstein
It moves Venice into the pavilion and takes the pavilion out into the surrounding areas, creating a long-term relationship with the city and its people and informing our future work in the UK.
Villa Frankenstein references John Ruskin, one of many British writers, artists and architects who have been obsessed by Venice. The title alludes to his regret that his great work, The Stones of Venice, spawned widespread copying by speculative builders in south London. Here, in the title’s barbed warning against the potential dangers of literal cultural translation, is the first indication of the project’s aim to connect with the specific experience of Venice.
Muf gives a glimpse of a possible positive future, not necessarily through permanent structures, but through temporary alterations in public space. The practice’s work is about changing society and changing relationships between people. It might sound old fashioned to say that the British Pavilion is about showcasing the best of British architecture, but it’s a great chance to put British architecture in this kind of global context. With Muf we’ve hit upon an interesting strand of British practice, the research-based side of architecture, which I think we are quite good at now. Muf is a leader of this type of practice and lots of young practices are influenced by the firm. Its engagement with ideas that go beyond building is reflective of the work of the British profession, whose work goes way beyond just building new buildings.