Foster’s Tower, Hadid’s Funnel Dazzle in Venice: Review

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Photographer: Francesco Galli/La Biennale di Venezia via Bloomberg

Portrait of the U.K. architect David Chipperfield, director of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Chipperfield has given the title "Common Ground" to this year's Biennale to emphasize a collective, as opposed to an individualistic vision of architecture.

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Photographer: Francesco Galli/La Biennale di Venezia via Bloomberg

Portrait of the U.K. architect David Chipperfield, director of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Chipperfield has given the title "Common Ground" to this year's Biennale to emphasize a collective, as opposed to an individualistic vision of architecture. Close

Portrait of the U.K. architect David Chipperfield, director of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Chipperfield... Read More

The Common Ground area at the Venice Arsenale, Italy. The exhibition, designed by U.K. architect David Chipperfield, is titled ``Common Ground'' to stress teamwork over self-centeredness. Photo: Francesco Galli for Venice Biennale 2012 via Bloomberg Close

The Common Ground area at the Venice Arsenale, Italy. The exhibition, designed by U.K. architect David Chipperfield,... Read More

Photographer: Francesco Galli/La Biennale di Venezia via Bloomberg

"Arum" (2012) designed by the Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid. The funnel-shaped structure, made of pleated metal, is Hadid's homage to Frei Otto, architect of the roof of the 1972 Munich Olympic arena. Close

"Arum" (2012) designed by the Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid. The funnel-shaped structure, made of pleated metal, is... Read More

Photographer: Francesco Galli/La Biennale di Venezia via Bloomberg

Installation shot of "Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank HQ, Hong Kong," a display room by Norman Foster, Marisa Gonzalez, Andreas Gursky, Ben Johnson. The room features a maquette of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank headquarters in Hong Kong as designed by architect Norman Foster, and films and photographs inspired by the building and what it represents today. Close

Installation shot of "Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank HQ, Hong Kong," a display room by Norman Foster, Marisa Gonzalez,... Read More

Source: M-A-D/Novita PR/U.S. Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale via Bloomberg

An image of the U.S. pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Commnon Good," displays efforts by designers and communities to take urban planning into their own hands. Close

An image of the U.S. pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the... Read More

Photographer: Farah Nayeri/Bloomberg

Exterior of the Venice Architecture Biennale's main exhibition space at the Giardini. The director of this year's Architecture Biennale, which ends Nov. 25, is architect David Chipperfield of the U.K. Close

Exterior of the Venice Architecture Biennale's main exhibition space at the Giardini. The director of this year's... Read More

Source: M-A-D/Novita PR/U.S. Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale via Bloomberg

Banners inside the U.S. pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. They present an archive of 124 spontaneous interventions. Photo courtesy of M-A-D. Close

Banners inside the U.S. pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. They present an archive of 124 spontaneous... Read More

Photographer: Farah Nayeri/Bloomberg

Exterior view of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The 2012 Architecture Biennale ends Nov. 25. Close

Exterior view of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The 2012 Architecture Biennale ends Nov. 25.

Photographer: Francesco Galli/La Biennale di Venezia via Bloomberg

Still shot of "Peter Zumthor at Work," a short film directed by Wim Wenders. The film, about the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Zumthor, is being shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Close

Still shot of "Peter Zumthor at Work," a short film directed by Wim Wenders. The film, about the Pritzker... Read More

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Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity (center), speaking in the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion in Venice, Italy, a space designed by Interboro Partners. Close

Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity (center), speaking in the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion in... Read More

The Venice Architecture Biennale this year gives top billing to U.K. architects, starting with David Chipperfield.

The man best known for his work on Berlin’s Neues Museum is steering the event. Norman Foster and (Baghdad-born, London- based) Zaha Hadid also have notable displays.

The central exhibition, designed by Chipperfield, is titled “Common Ground” to stress teamwork over self-centeredness.

Chipperfield said the theme was “to encourage my colleagues to react against the prevalent professional and cultural tendencies of our time that place such emphasis on individual and isolated actions.”

Foster -- architect of London’s Gherkin tower -- has a dim, immersive display called “Gateway” in the Arsenale’s first gallery. Names of generations of architects, critics and designers slither across the floor in moving projections. Images of the world’s landmarks, slums and protest sites flash across wall-to-wall screens.

In the central exhibition, Foster has another room devoted to his Hongkong and Shanghai Bank tower, completed in 1985 in Hong Kong. Surrounding a maquette of the building are an Andreas Gursky photo of it and a Ben Johnson painting.

Hadid shows “Arum” (2012), a huge funnel-shaped pleated- metal sculpture inspired by Frei Otto, architect of the 1972 Munich Olympic arena.

The Biennale is held within walking distance of St. Mark’s Square. Exhibitions are inside the “Corderie dell’Arsenale,” once Venice’s naval ropemaking workshops, and the lush Giardini gardens, where countries have age-old permanent pavilions.

At the U.S. pavilion, an exhibition called “Spontaneous Interventions” displays examples of architects, designers and citizens taking over derelict spaces to make them more sustainable, creating urban farms and new bike lanes.

Director Wim Wenders -- whose documentary “Pina” focused on the late German choreographer Pina Bausch -- shows the austere Swiss architect Peter Zumthor in a short movie.

The 13th Venice Architecture Biennale runs through Nov. 25, 2012. The event is held every other year, alternating with the Art Biennale.

Information: http://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture.

(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Rich Jaroslovsky on technology and Jason Harper on autos.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in Venice at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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