Scotland+Venice 2012: Critical Dialogues

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This year’s Scottish contribution to the Venice Biennale, Critical Dialogues, showcases projects from four practices that explore the social role of the architect and the creative boundaries of architecture, writes Jonathan Charley, Project Director, Scotland+Venice 2012. The full publication introducing the projects is available to download from the right hand menu on this page.

Organised as a week long series of events within the public realm, the projects play with a series of popular themes that have their roots in the long history of alternative architectural and urban practice – the politics of community engagement, the ludic dimensions of architecture, the celebration of the architecture of everyday life and the investigation of different ways of seeing and mapping. As well as planning a sequence of actions that engage with overlooked and marginalised places and social organisations, each practice has developed a methodological ‘tool kit that is adaptable and playful so that in principle any one of the projects can be transferred and repeated in other urban locations.

Scotland+Venice 2012: Critical Dialogues

For their project Ludoarchiteca, Stone Opera have drawn on their experience in play and design education and designed a full size kit of cardboard building blocks with a diagrammatic instruction manual. It will be installed in a park in the Cannaregio neighbourhood where local children will get to become ‘builders for the day’.

DO with Derive Veneziana set out to explore and map the working life and periphery ofthe city through photographs and film footage shot remotely from a low flying red helium balloon. This still and moving imagery, edited into a film, will take the viewer on a journey through a previously unseen city.

GRAS’s project for a Galeria Temporanea, also plays with visual perception and comprises of a pop-up mobile gallery fabricated out of interlocking white panels. Lightweight and easily transportable the gallery will visit the disused well-heads that dot the city, temporarily isolating, framing and objectifying them as important works of architecture.

Pidgin Perfect’s Banchetto is driven by a commitment to engaging with communities who are normally excluded from the design process. To this end they have organised a tour of the main Biennale for a group of local residents who have never before crossed its threshold and invited them to eat, drink and talk architecture at a ‘theatrical’ open air dinner to be held in the old Castello Alto-Bassoneighbourhood of the city.

Scotland Week culminates with the screening of edited footage and documentation of the weeks actions and events and a public party that will be held in Ludoteca Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, the studio hub used by the practices as their Venetian headquarters.

The public opening times in Venice are:

Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8th September, 3-7pm

Tweet your thoughts about Scotland + Venice using the #scotlandvenice2012 tag.

An exhibition of the projects developed in Venice will open at Architecture + Design Scotland, The Lighthouse, later in the year.

If you have any questions about the 2012 Scotland + Venice Architecture project, please contact Project Co-ordinator Lottie Gerrard

To find out what is happening at the UK Pavilion in Venice, please go to

Exhibition: The Happenstance, Glasgow

A dynamic exhibition showcasing The Happenstance, Scotland’s contribution to the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice 2018.

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