The Spanish Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale takes an introspective approach with its exhibit ‘Uncertainty’ to generate necessary thinking process that responds to the realities of changing or unknown Nature. The exhibit presents a selection of actions that showcases architecture as a collective process to face new social demands.
The exhibit is curated by Domingo J. Gonźalez, Sofía Piñero, Andrzej Gwizdala and Fernando Herrera, who decided to join hands to answer the call for proposal in the competition organised by the Public Works Ministry. It is the first time in history that the exhibition curators were chosen by a means of public competition selected by a group of Jury. As the Venice Biennale 2020 was postponed to 2021, the team behind ‘Uncertainty’ kept on working and their proposal, in light of COVID-19 pandemic, seems more prominent as it shows us a future in which uncertainty looms large and becomes a primary tool to transform our processes and social models, breaking individualism in favour of coexistence.
“Uncertainty, as the antonym of certainty, appears as the opportunity to generate necessary thinking processes that respond to the realities of changing or unknown nature, those with limits that cannot be defined, or those which do not have any limits at all; therefore, influencing the nature of our certainties by eliminating their steadiness and forcing their evolution,” says the team of curators.
The exhibit starts with ‘cloud of portfolios’ that suspends thousands of sheets of paper in a dream-like state, presented as an open folder as opposed to the one that is closed, containing the information. Here the gesture of suspending compilation of projects in air hints towards openness and transparency that we need to create in architecture. The gesture also hints towards collaboration and how the traditional boundaries of architecture are diminishing while its scope is expanding.
The feeling of uncertainty is heightened through unfamiliarity of how the works are displayed. The chosen projects constitute a repository of strategies for living together, that serves as a database for the rest of the pavilion. The design of the central room becomes a volume composed of hundreds of ideas floating in space, that interact to build a single and complete whole.
The Spanish curatorial team explains, “The exhibited works transform into a unique catalogue of architectural strategies necessary to face the future of our coexistence and its implications, including the social and environmental levels; unravelling how social atomisation – resulting from the variability of responses to the uncertainty that we all have experienced – does not eliminate the possibility of forming a group or a community, nor it pushes us into individualism.”
Further in the exhibition, the visitors are drawn towards ‘Draw’ spread out in four lateral rooms, which encourages them to walk around a non-hierarchical landscape of abstract, decontextualised pieces representing the selected projects.
“In these spaces, the Draw brings together diverse projects based on the various disciplinary boundaries explored by each one of them, reflecting their interconnections through a play of lights, screens, and objects. The time interferences created in this process enable each project to step outside the limits of its initial context, and open up to new cross-readings, emphasising the role of uncertainty as a generator of new opportunities,” add the curators.
Between these experiences and meanderings, the visitors will cross ‘Together Hall’, where, through audiovisual projection mapping, projects are showcased out of the cloud, through a sequence of interpretive operations.
The chosen projects go beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture and fuse architecture with other fields, such as music, poetry, education, agriculture, cinema, dance, video games and tourism, in sort of a hybrid that improves our society both at social and environmental level.
The team in charge of the Spanish Pavilion comprises 4 young architects based in Tenerife: Andrzej Gwizdala, Domingo González, Fernando Herrera, and Sofía Piñero.
Late in 2019 they decided to join hands in competing for the opportunity to design and curate the exhibition of the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, answering the Public Works Ministry’s call for proposals. It was the first time that this commission was being decided by means of a public competition with a jury.
Domingo Jacobo González Galván (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1988). Graduated in Architecture from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2014. He has collaborated in various architectural offices in Tenerife such as Palerm&Tabares de Nava and Dos07 Arquitectos, coordinating his professional life with the research profile both for the Canary Islands public universities and independently, and working on various projects related to architecture, landscape, heritage and archaeology. In 2019 he completed the Master in Theory and History of Art and Cultural Management at the University of La Laguna, where he was awarded the Extraordinary Master's Degree Award.
Sofía Piñero Rivero (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1988). Graduated in Architecture from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2017. She participated in the first edition of the DEMOLA programme in the Canary Islands. Sofía Piñero has combined collaborations of varying lengths in various studios and real estate and construction companies with different jobs as a saleswoman, singer or storyteller. She has taken part in several archaeological studies and in some publications. Sofía's profile is based on artistic interest, which she has nurtured by studying music, dance and theatre, being a member of several theatre and musical groups, and associations such as the Escuela del espectador del Auditorio de Tenerife (Tenerife Auditorium Spectator's School).
Andrzej Gwizdala (Krakow, Poland, 1988). Andrzej holds the Master of Architecture degree with the highest distinction from the LaCambre Université Libre de Bruxelles (2007-2013). He completed internships in internationally renowned offices, such as Studio Massimiliano Fuksas in Rome or Atelier Christian de Portzamparc in Paris. Currently, he works as an architect at GPY arquitectos in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where he contributed to various publications and designed some of the Islands’ top tourist attractions, such as The New Casa de los Volcanes Exhibition Space Los Jameos del Agua in Lanzarote. With his current studio, he has won multiple awards, including the International Architecture Awards IAA 2020.
Fernando Herrera Pérez (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1988). Architect by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2013. Master's degree in Teacher Training from the University of La Laguna in 2019. From 2013 to 2016 he worked in the Technological Advice Centre (CAT) and Architecture Competitions Office of the COAC - Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Canarias - Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro. Since then he has collaborated in various competitions and projects with several studios on the island.