Japanese Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Story in brief

In brief

Inside the Japanese pavilion the remains of a dismantled timber framed house provided the content for the exhibition curated by architect and theorist Kozo Kadowaki, produced in collaboration with architects Jo Nagasaka, Ryoko Iwase, Toshikatsu Kiuchi, Taichi Sunayama, Daisuke Motogi.

The team transported the fragments of a house from the Tokyo suburb of Setagaya-ku with the initial plan to rebuild the house in Venice. Instead of recreating the house, the exhibition presented an installation of the different fragments accumulated over 65 years of the existence of the house. Displayed around the pavilion like an autopsy of the house, they showcased a development in Japanese material culture and artisanal approaches.

The lifecycle of an ordinary house in Japan is surprisingly short and there are many similar obsolete houses waiting demolition, according to the curators. As a construction material timber is widely used in Japan and lends itself well to artisanal building techniques. Timber can also be easily dismantled, transported and re-used. Through a historic perspective and material analysis, the exhibition also explored poetic approaches for a circular economy in timber construction in the future.

Marianna Wahlsten

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Nikhilesh Haval

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