Scotland’s contribution to the International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale Architecttura is delivered through the Scotland + Venice partnership between the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland.
Scotland is recognised internationally as a country that encourages and supports excellence and innovation. The ambition of the Scotland + Venice Partnership is to commission and showcase art and architecture that reflects the best of contemporary practice and thinking in Scotland.
This page gathers content and information from Scotland’s participation at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice over the years.
Scotland + Venice 2018 – The Happenstance
The Happenstance was the Scotland + Venice response to Grafton Architects theme of Freespace. In the garden of Palazzo Zenobio, WAVEparticle curated an active archive around a boardwalk-cum-climbing frame designed by Baxendale. The Happenstance engaged with people of all ages, encouraging everyone into a vital relationship with the built environment through adding to the structure and staging their own events (over 60), demonstrating and gathering what can be built using play as an active agent within the process of rethinking and reclaiming Freespace. Elements of The Happenstance were exhibited in Scotland along with a series of aligned events.
‘Tomorrow is the closing day of the beautiful sharing experience between Scotland, with the tireless, inspirational Peter McCaughey, and Venice. It has been intense months where, since the opening of the pavilion at CA ‘Zenobio, the interaction between artists and citizens has been addictive, sparkling. Scotland hosted in the garden of CA ‘Zenobio… the entire city: citizens, associations, children, students, etc. And unforgettable deckchairs to enjoy outdoor cinema. And tomorrow we recover the threads of a beautiful relationship weaving”.
Giovanni Andrea Martini, President of the Venice Municipality
(Photo by Graham Ross)
Scotland + Venice 2016 – Prospect North
Prospect North delivered an interactive exhibition exploring 15 community projects throughout Scotland and Scotland’s relationship with its northern neighbours with a focus on people and place. A micro to macro approach delivered a series of innovative mapping strategies, individual narratives, portraits and evocative imagery, highlighting Scotland’s place and identity within an economically emerging northern region. It then toured to three major venues in Scotland and to the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik. A smaller version was produced to tour to communities in Scotland.
On a bustling side street in Venice, a vision of Scotland transformed is drawing in crowds at this year’s international Architecture Biennale.
Occupying a converted chapel, the installation is the work of Prospect North, an alliance between Glasgow design practice Lateral North, Skye-based architects Dualchas, and Glasgow’s Soluis digital studio.
In a multimedia exhibit that showcases Scottish materials alongside augmented reality technology, the chapel has been filled with a huge wooden model of Scotland, Scandinavia and the Arctic.
The exhibit presents a vision for the future in which the country is repositioned at the heart of a sustainable North Atlantic economy.
(Photo by Anastasija Širokova)
Scotland + Venice 2014 – Past + Future
Reiach and Hall, architects, academics and students
Curated by Reiach and Hall, Past + Future saw four groups research modernity in Scotland. In response to the theme Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Scotland + Venice was concerned with undertaking fragments of research, aimed primarily at opening up debate within Scotland about what a modern architecture was and what it might be? A series of publication were distributed in Venice and Scotland. Past + Future continue the event-based approach that established itself as the hallmark of a distinctive Scottish presence in Venice during the Architecture Biennale. A series of events were also run in Scotland on its return.
Scotland + Venice 2012 – Critical Dialogues
Curated by Jonathan Charley, Critical Dialogues saw four Glasgow-based practices created a Scottish ‘studio’ in Venice to explore the social role of the architect and the creative boundaries of architecture. Organised as a week-long series of events that took place within the public realm, Critical Dialogues was planned as a sequence of actions that engaged with overlooked and marginalised places and social organisations. Each practice developed a methodological tool kit that was adaptable and playful, so that in principle any one of the projects could be transferred and repeated in other locations.
(Images by Gilmar Ribeiro)
Scotland + Venice 2010 – To Have and to Hold
NVA, Murray Grigor, Space and Light Revisited
The premier of Murray Grigor’s Space and Light Revisited was presented as a split screen film of St Peter’s Seminary – the original film shot in 1972 as working seminary and a recreated shot-for-shot in 2009 as a ruin. NVA’s To Have and to Hold round table discussion enabled a high level of international engagement and marked a step change in developing a strong and distinctive Scottish presence and the many potential benefits through an engagement-based approach rather than pre-prepared exhibitions.
One of the most poignant films you will ever see showing the gradual destruction of a great building over time.
(Image Neil Davidson)
Scotland + Venice 2008 – A Gathering Space
Gareth Hoskins Architects
Sited outside the main railway station opposite the Grand Canal, the 7m-high wooden structure created from sustainable materials, including Scots larch, showcased Scottish design and construction. It provided a temporary public forum for debate and discussion and invited visitors to sit, pause and contemplate, and from the top offered a new perspective on the city A Gathering Space was the focus of a number of debates including New Regionalism in Architecture, Architecture Beyond Building, Architecture and Landscape and Transforming the urban landscape.
(Image credit Gareth Hoskins Ltd)
Scotland + Venice 2004 – Land Forms
Landforms exhibition presented 16 keynote architectural projects completed since the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. The Biennale theme of Metamorph is of particular relevance to Scotland in showing how architecture both reflects and acts as a catalyst for political and cultural change.
The projects reflected the variety of contemporary architecture emerging from the numerous Scottish landscapes and ranged from the Scottish Parliament by Catalan architect Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue Miralles, and in partnership with Scottish practice RMJM to An Turas on Tiree by Sutherland Hussey. The exhibition toured to Scotland, Spain, France and the Netherlands.
(Image credit Andrew Lee)