“MADE IN EUROPE”
25 YEARS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION PRIZE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE – MIES VAN DER ROHE AWARD,
Collateral Event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
Venice, June 2014_ Under the title “Made in Europe” the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe present on the occasion of la Biennale an exhibition tracing 25 years of European architecture. The event takes place at the Palazzo Michiel from June 7th to August 4th.
The exhibition showcases the archives of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies Van der Rohe Award, organised since 1988, and offers visitors a unique overview of the development of architecture in Europe over the past 25 years. The archive hosted by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona is the biggest collection of documents on contemporary architecture in Europe, containing more than 2,500 projects and 145 original models.
“In 2013 the prize celebrated its 25th anniversary and we organised all the archive,” says Giovanna Carnevali, director of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe. “The raw archive, as the physical evidence of time, has the potential of plural readings. Different “histories” are made possible, illustrating the richness and evolution of national architectures”.
The Fundació is based in the Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 in Barcelona, later demolished and reconstructed at its original location in 1986. “This reproduction became a document itself, the “Zero Document”; that’s the origin of the archive. Correspondingly, the archive is composed of documents and reproductions that help us analyse the past as well as imagine the future of architecture in Europe,” says Carnevali.
In the exhibition visitors will find out that the spreading of modern architecture during the last century has effectively eroded the singularities of each European nation’s style; can we then still talk about national architecture? Moreover, is there a “European-ness” in architecture? Is there a distinguishing feature in European architecture beyond the fact that it is “Made in Europe?”
Organised according to usage (collective housing, education, cultural centers, etc.), the documents are pulled from the archive and are exhibited without their context. They give together many answers to questions like: what does collective housing mean? What are cultural centre? How are offices designed? The answers, although diverse, show the European cultural background by its definition of inhabiting and its architectonic application. In the different solutions given to these questions, one can read the complexity that resides under the expression “Made in Europe.”
The mise en scène of the exhibition is divided into four areas: “Models,” “Data,” “Voices,” and “Making of.”
The first and second galleries house a selection of 150 original models made by the finalists of the Prize. In parallel, the timeline of the past 25 years of Europe shows the connections between developments in politics, in science, in culture and in architecture.
This is the core of the exhibition: almost 2500 projects of the nominees of the past 25 years of the Prize are displayed; the drawings construct the space and pathways made by walls of file cards on a 25 x 25 cm grid, making the visitor experience the physical presence of architecture made in Europe. A QR code links to photographs making the exhibit interactive, with a dedicated Wi-Fi offering a connection to an up-to-date perception of contemporary architecture.
The archive holds many other documents produced during the award ceremonies of the Prize, such as interviews with the winning architects and members of the jury. A selection of the interviews is shown on screens in a side room.
The making of the exhibition “Made in Europe” was realised by a group of 15 students from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona – Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya , whose intensive work of opening and revising all of the projects in the archive has been full of surprises, like Walter Benjamin unpacking his library.
The exhibition “Made in Europe” will host two symposia.
The first will be “European-ness porosity”, organised for the inauguration ceremony on June 6th that will turn into a meeting point between curators of the different pavilions, as well as previous winners of the Prize.
The second symposium will be hosted mid-July where past winners of the emerging architects category of the Prize will debate along with other young talented architects on the topic of the contemporary architecture European panorama.
7th June, 2014 - 4th August, 2014
Celia Marín Vega
Coordination and Exhibition Design
Anna Sala Giralt
Celia Marín Vega
Curator of the Collection
Fundació Mies van der Rohe
Students from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) – Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB)
Translations and Proofreading
Pere Canals i Daniel Pujal
Miriam Giordano, Silvia Pujalte / Labóh
Mercedes Soler-Lluró, Gemma Pasqual/ICE
USM Modular Furniture
Archive of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe