AJ columnist Patrick Lynch has sent these photos of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice architecture biennale, in which he is an exhibitor.
He writes: ‘The Irish Pavilion 2008, curated by Professor Hugh Campbell of UCD and Natalie Weadick of The Architecture Foundation is entitled “The Lives of Spaces” in response to Aaron Betsky’s theme of architecture beyond architecture, and was housed in the piano nobile of a 15th century Palazzo on the Grand Canal filled with enigmatic objects and mysterious films.
Nine architects presented their work and the inspiration for their projects. Such Dublin luminaries as Grafton Architects - who showed their new law faculty at Milan and treasury building in Dublin – and O’Donnel & Tuomey presented, alongside younger practices such as Tom De Paor, Grainne Hassett and newcomers Taka.
Nine white-Corian and black-perspex objects encased plasma screens that showed ‘portraits’ of the buildings in use, contrasting well with the thoughtful lighting of the room’s frescoes. The centre point to the show, according to Cooper Union chairman Anthony Vidler writing in his introduction to the catalogue, is the presentation by Patrick Lynch and Simon Walker who showed their villa projects accompanied by a film by Sue Barr of Robin Walker’s 1972 masterpiece Brbua country house in Cork where Seamus Heaney and the cultural elite of Ireland gathered each summer.
Heaney’s poems about the house and its architect were read by the poet to accompany an evocative and atmospheric film of the house made by Sue Barr and David Heathcote. The broader historical and geographical context of Irish modernity and contemporary architecture was presented in a cool and restrained manner, with just enough ‘lyricism’ to satisfy the romantics.’
See a video of the pavilion.