Highlights from the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale: The Vatican Pavilion curated by Francesco Dal and Micol Forti

In occasion of the 16th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice, the Vatican makes its grand debut and presents an alternative universe of places of worship.

The Vatican Pavilion has invited ten architects to build and design one chapel each in the green area of the Venitian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Curated by Francesco Dal and Micol Forti, the Vatican Pavilion has the Woodland Chapel made by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund in 1920 as the starting point of the works exhibited. Under the title temples of worship, architects from all over the world have been invited to approach the theme of the chapel as a place for orientation, encounter, mediation and salutation. Ricardo Flores and Eva Prat present a chapel as a wall parallel to the path. Along side this wall they placed a door that offers an alternative route into the forest, abandoning the pre-made lineal paths in favor of the unknown. Entering inside the structure, one finds the point of salutation positioned towards the sunbeams that run through the surrounding forest and create an holy yet mundane sort of aura. For its Cross chapel, the Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori  turned  a medieval cabin into a place of quiet prayer. The walls inside are coated in white and adorned with pieces of charcoal, while leaving the area in which the cross is placed in complete purity. Visitors can take a seat on the minimalistic wooden benches placed on each side of a narrow that leads up to the cross, to experience the sensation of the ascension of the Son of God. Iconic architect Norman Foster creates a sanctuary space of light and shadow that envolop the visitors in graphic contrasts. He develpod the design with a timber deck with three symbolic crosses that then have been incorporated and morphed into an integrated structure of cables and masts in wood, which leave visitors a glipmse of the surrounding water and forest to keep a seamless connection between nature and architecture.

  • Highlights from the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale: The Vatican Pavilion curated by Francesco Dal and Micol Forti

    Article by
    Beata Duvaker



    Beata Duvaker


    16th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice

    Venice, Giardini – Arsenale
    May 26th – November 25th, 2018

    Special Thanks

    La Biennale di Venezia