Finnish participation in several different exhibitions in Venice
In addition to the Finnish pavilion, the Biennale Architettura 2023 will feature Finnish creatives, for instance, in the Lithuanian pavilion, whereas the Nordic Pavilion will deal with Sámi culture. The Time Space Existence parallel exhibition features two building projects from Helsinki, Finland.
The curatorial idea of Lesley Lokko, the curator of this year's Biennale Architettura, is reflected in the main exhibition in Arsenale and Giardini. Themed The Laboratory of the Future, the exhibition views Africa in the main role of the future, and gives professionals in the creative fields the opportunity to present tomorrow's visions. This year, no Finnish architects were invited to participate in the main exhibition. However, Finnish names can be found in the realisations of several different national pavilions.
The Finnish representation can be seen, for instance, in the Nordic Pavilion designed by Sverre Fehn in 1962, which presents forms of Nordic cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway.
The Nordic Pavilion presents a traveling spatial work Girjegumpi – The Sámi Architecture Library, which contains more than 500 works on topics topics such as Sámi architecture and design, traditional and ancestral building knowledge, activism, and decoloniality.
For over fifteen years, architect and artist Joar Nango has been assembling an archive of books about issues relevant to Indigenous architecture. This structure, social space, and source of knowledge around architecture in Sámi has toured before entering the architecture biennale both within the Nordic countries and in Canada. Sweden's ArkDes was responsible for this year's exhibition, and the Museum of Finnish Architecture will, in turn, act as main commissioner again in 2025.
The Lithuanian pavilion, on the other hand, has a strong presence of Finnish artists, as the pavilion shows a project implemented in the forests of Finland and Lithuania, which goes by the name of Children's Forest Pavilion. The curators of the exhibition are Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule and Jonas Žukauskas. The project aims to explain the ecosystem of the forest by combining works and findings that have been developed together with children.
The Children's Forest Pavilion's contributors include the Finnish artistic-scientific association Mustarinda Association, whose members Riitta Nykänen, Tiina Arjukka Hirvonen, Michaela Casková and Robin Everett have participated in the project. In addition, the Helsinki-based architect-designer couple Nene Tsuboi and Tuomas Toivonen from New Academy are also involved. Elis Hannikainen is involved in the film production of the exhibition.
The Latvian pavilion has been transformed into TCL supermarket, created by the T/C Latvija for this year's Biennale Architettura. The exhibition features supermarket shelves that are full of ideas based on earlier Biennale Architettura exhibitions from the 2000s.
Curated by Uldis Jaunzems-Pētersons, the exhibition explores the relationship between the biennale – the supermarket – and the national pavilions – the products. There are more than 500 exhibition 'products' on display on the shelves – and in the online store – ten of which are Finnish exhibitions.
Finnish works in parallel exhibitions
The Time Space Existence 2023 exhibition, which is held in Venice at the same time as the Biennale Architettura, presents two Helsinki building projects, the HUS Bridge Hospital in Meilahti and the wakeboarding center Kylä in Hietaniemi.
The Finnish-French working group Team Integrated is responsible for the design of the Bridge Hospital. The consortium consists of AW2-Architects, B&M Architects, Harris-Kjisik Architects and Brunet Saunier Architecture. The exhibition can be seen in Venice's Palazzo Bembo.
The Meilahti Bridge Hospital, completed in 2022, creates a new western facade on the Meilahti hospital area. The new building was designed to replace the previous hospital buildings in poor condition. The bridge serves as connecting the two hospital wings and the street connection under the bridge improves the passage of emergency vehicles through the hospital area.
The Hietaniemi wakeboarding center Kylä, designed by Olla Architecture, is presented in Venice at Palazzo Mora. The architecture draws from the Finnish tradition of wood construction. The wakeboard center with its cafe and sauna buildings have log frames and wooden shingle façades that combine traditional building techniques with modern patterns. Solid wood frame is not only durable but also lets the structure breathe freely. The building’s carbon footprint is also reduced with maintenance-free solutions and minimizing technology.
Finnish representation is at its strongest, naturally, in Finland's own entry in the Alvar Aalto-designed pavilion. The exhibition Huussi – Imagining the future history of Sanitation is realised by The Dry Collective, which includes the Finns Arja Renell, Antero Jokinen, Emmi Keskisarja, Eero Renell and Janne Teräsvirta and the Italian Barbara Motta. Read more about Huussi here.
Read Archinfo's recommendations for other Biennale Architettura exhibitions to visit here.