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Far pavilions

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Interesting evening at the Geological Society, where the Royal Academy's autumn architecture programme ran an event on the Venice Biennale and the British and German pavilions.

Peter Cook, picked by the British Council to curate our pavilion, gave an entertaining overview of what is involved and why we ended up with nine architects doing their own thing, rather than concentrating on a single theme. The talk was as refreshing as the pavilion (nine was the maximum sensible number of exhibitors), as was the followup by two of them, Ian Ritchie and CJ Lim, the latter making the audience squirm with an explanation of his San Marco tower, designed to kill pigeons and then exhibit them in draped arrangement like avian chandeliers. Then we heard about the German pavilion, curated by Anglo-German Francesca Ferguson, which dealt with that most British of subjects, the suburb. The exhibit concerned the injection of radical buildings into otherwise anonymous locations, creating new urban collages in a thoughtful and rather inspiring way. Her show is to travel in Germany; maybe someone (the Architecture Foundation? ) could bring it here. Incidentally, the budget for the German pavilion was about £300,000, compared with ours at £200,000.

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