SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE EARNS WORLD PROMINENCE IN VENICE
MODELS OF 15 DEGREE PROJECTS BY GRADUATED ARCHITECTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY, ALONG WITH VIDEOS ABOUT THE TERRITORIES IN WHICH THEY ARE LOCATED, ARE IN EXHIBITION.
June 1, 2016
Chile’s "A contracorriente" (Against the Flow) Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has generated an extraordinary interest, becoming a great showcase for the work of the School of Architecture of the Universidad de Talca, with a great impact for the professionals trained in this unit.
This good reception is a new recognition for this School, which in recent years has won several international awards, the last one being the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, obtained last year in Paris.
Only on the weekend following the opening of the Biennale about 50 thousand people visited Chile’s showcase according to Professor Germán Valenzuela, who was part of the team of academics and support professionals who brought forward the project of the Chilean Pavilion, whose curator is Juan Román, Director of the School of Architecture, and whose co-curator is Professor José Luis Uribe.
In its moment, the jury chose unanimously "A contracorriente" among the proposals submitted to the Contest of Ideas, called by the National Culture Council to award the curatorship of the Chilean Pavilion. Juan Román said that it seemed to him that his idea responded well to the topic "Reporting from the front", raised by Chile's Alejandro Aravena, Director of the Biennale and recent winner of the Pritzke award. Although the director of the School clarified that the idea was not to present a pavilion representing that Unit, but all of Chile, the work of several of its graduates is shown there.
Germán Valenzuela said that the motto of this biennial, "Reporting from the front", gives value to small and big struggles occurring on a daily basis in the cities, and in the territory in general, with an invitation to architects to look at that reality and work on it. In keeping with that vision, Chile’s Pavilion displays the models of 15 degree works by architects who graduated from the Universidad de Talca, which are accompanied by videos of the territories where they were built. The projects respond to the constructive challenges arising from the locations, where waste materials were primarily used in their construction.
Viewpoints, squares, paradors, generally located in rural areas, are some of these works.
"We estimate that in the six months the biennial lasts, opened on May 28, the number of visitors can reach one million," said Germán Valenzuela when he returned from Venice, after sharing the efforts of mounting the exhibition in the city of the canals. "It's a platform, a stage, very important for the School, for the University and for young architects who have graduated from here and who develop this work," he added.
About the Pavilion, Germán Valenzuela explained that it represents the landscape of the Central Valley and used materials such as wood and clay. In its interior there are three elements, one of which is a giant curtain made with 5,000 plastic bread bags, even though they look puny, "as a whole, and on the way it was built and designed, it becomes a work by itself, which is able to have a high degree of sophistication". Then, the 15 projects of the young architects are presented. Finally, there is a large wooden deck bench installed in front of the audiovisual projection space, over landscapes of the Central Valley.
After the inauguration of the Biennale, Juan Román said that the Chilean proposal "is installed as a platform to rest, of tranquility, where people can sit a moment, isolated from the noise, bustle and heat, and make a pause to connect with the geographical space we are presenting in this Pavilion".
The exhibition focuses on a way of thinking and doing things, according to Germán Valenzuela. "It has to do with the resources available to build, whether many or few. It has nothing to do with recycling or sustainability, but with the intelligence with which the available materials are used and with which an architecture of high sophistication, incorporating beauty as something necessary in a complex society like today’s, linked, in addition, to communities that usually do not have access to architecture. That is the core of the discourse of what we do at the School and that we transfered to the Biennale, and I believe it had an excellent reception," he explained.
In this regard, he said that there has been an "exceptional" reception from the specialized audience, mainly European and Asian, who "recognizes Chile’s Pavilion as closely linked to the work of the School, and that is fantastic for us because it shows a practice to which we have devoted ourselves in terms of projections; it will undoubtedly mean a space for future generations of graduates to publish their works and even to apply it in the real world," he stressed.
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