Curated by Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forti, the Holy See Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is inspired by the model of the Chapel in the Wood, built in 1920 by Gunnar Asplund in the Stockholm Cemetery. It is divided into ten chapels and Asplund Pavilion, each an interpretation by an internationally renowned architect, grouped together in the garden of the Cini Foundation on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Crosses Morphed Into a Tensegrity Structure
The Holy See Pavilion invited a number of architects to design site-specific temporary chapels to celebrate the 2018 Venice Biennale. Our project started with the selection of the site. On a visit to San Giorgio Island, close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde, we found a green space with two mature trees beautifully framing the view of the lagoon. It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation. The design concept started with three symbolic crosses and a timber deck set in the landscape, that would receive a lent-like membrane. Over time the crosses morphed into a tensegrity structure of cables and masts whilst the membrane evolved into a wooden latticework attached to the structure. The aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focused instead on the water and sky beyond. The introduction of a direction change from the point of entry delays that experience and makes it a surprise to be discovered.
Text from the “Vatican Chapels” catalogue, edited by Electaarchitettura