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Worse things happen at sea: the Croatian pavilion collapses

Heard about Croatia’s ‘floating’ pavilion for the Venice Biennale? No, not many people have

But thanks to a leak (ho,ho) Astragal can reveal a sad tale of a Titanic failure.

Intending to glide across the Northern Adriatic, from Rijeka to Venice, the country’s pavilion was a state of the art piece for the 2010 Architecture Biennale.

However its entrance this August was not as remarkable as hoped.

The tax payer-funded pavilion was made from 32 tons of welded wire mesh. Described as a ‘layered geometric structure’ with to be both imposing and delicate, solid and vapour-like; bouncing across the waves, an industrial icon with an ethereal mass.

Its interior was set to house an exhibition of the project, in keeping with the Biennale’s theme reflections of the future.

But at sea, the Croatian vision was jeopardised by ‘structural difficulties’, collapsed and amounted to nothing but a disappointment. Poor Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia and the driving force behind the structure, who on 3 May announced optimistically ‘an exhibition that hosts foreign pavilions as participants’ must mean ‘a new Biennale is born’ this year.

As a wise man once said, never set out on the ocean with nothing more than hope in your belly.

Project credit

Commissioner: leo modrčin
Architects: saša begović, marko dabrović, igor franić, tanja grozdanić, petar mišković, silvije novak, veljko oluić, helena paver njirić, lea pelivan, toma plejić, goran rako, saša randić, idis turato, pero vuković, tonči zarnić
Maritime consultant: miljenko gržalja
Structural engineer: zvonimir sabljak
Naval architecture: nicola ferrari
Principal contractor: an.ta.so.mont

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