NEW YORK – By Janet Ekstract – A Venice Biennale experience is like no other but this year marks a fresh era in the Venice Architecture Biennale where the Vatican will showcase its very own unique pavilion consisting of 11 chapels to display the blending of sacred space and architecture as represented by 10 diverse architects from varying nations.
The Vatican’s aim is to offer visitors a type of ‘pilgrimage’ through the chapel representations that are being planted in the forest of San Giorgio island, one of many, located in the main basin of Venice’s lagoon, opposite St. Mark’s Square.
The project, at an estimated cost of close to $500,000 USD received contributions from construction firms to keep costs down and solicited designs from 10 different architects. The Vatican also showcased pavilions at both the 2013 and 2015 art Biennales, as well.
“Vatican Chapels” according to the Vatican’s Culture Minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, can help reestablish a dialogue between the sacred and architecture that has been a forerunner in transforming public spaces worldwide. The project curator, Venetian architectural historian, Francesco Dal Co, commented that there is no specific theme uniting the chapels that are made of a variety of different materials including wood, steel, iron, cement or ceramic.
This year’s 16th Architecture Biennale in Venice is more about marrying the ephemeral with the concept of space and allowing the public to draw their own conclusions base on something far more intangible than the eye – a feeling.