Later this month the 2012 Venice Architectural Biennale will come to a close, so perhaps now is a good time to reflect on this year’s theme of common ground.
I traveled to Venice in October to check out some of the exhibits, which represented everything from abstract intellectual concepts to concrete solutions for the most stubborn challenges in planning and design in the public realm. The following are a few of the highlights:
The Poland and Rumanian exhibits took a somewhat conceptual approach. In the Poland pavilion the idea of common ground is tied to our shared experience of sound. One enters the pavilion to hear brash reverberations of creaking walls and thumping footsteps. Soon we learn that these sounds are actually amplified projections of live events taking place in real time within and around the pavilion, reminding us of the wide range of sound elements that combine to create a common ground of auditory experience. The Romanian pavilion contains a dark room filled with dozens of back-lit pedestals, some containing objects of graphic art (postage stamps) and others of bureaucratic process (architectural and other technical stamps), calling attention to some of the common but functional dichotomies of the creative and applied realms of planning and design.