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Venice 2010: Inside the British Pavilion with Ed Vaizey

AJ Critics editor James Pallister reports on the opening of Muf Architecture’s British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

‘Quintessentially British’ was the verdict of Ed Vaizey as he surveyed the Villa Frankenstein installation at last night’s official opening.

Following British Council director of architecture Vicky Richardson’s remarks on the steps of the Giardini villa, the Culture Minister addressed the assembled crowd of British architects and their Italian counterparts, the latter apparently coping better with the 30c heat.

Vaizey said: ‘It’s quirky, funny, self-effacing and engages with many parts of Venice.

‘It’s probably one of the most sustainable pavilions too. All the work within, (apart from the Ruskin notebooks on display) was built here and much of it will remain and be used again in the city.’

The centre piece (see AJ 26.08.10) is a 1:10 model of the Olympic Stadium - a curatorial move which ‘tickled’ the minister.

‘I love the fact that the model of the Olympic Stadium is the centrepiece because it’s reflective of what we will be doing in London in 2012- this is a British Pavilion, a Venetian Pavilion and a World Pavilion.’

Liza Fior of Muf praised her collaborators for their continued trust in the project throughout its gestation and made a plea for the work in Venice to be recognised back home.

Fior urged architects to ‘show more care for the fragile nature of neighbourhoods and ecologies like Venice that are worth looking after’

Ed Vaizey took the final word. ‘It’s open’, he said. ‘Have a drink’.

The British Pavilion is part of the 12th international architecture Biennale, this year curated by Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA. See next week’s issue for more coverage.

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