Pressing the Re-set button...

Wednesday 15 Aug 2012

Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse demonstrates that architecture possesses the power to start anew

During the upcoming edition of the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, a single visit to the Dutch pavilion will not be enough. Anyone who wants to experience the full potential of an empty building will return. Perhaps more than once. Every five minutes the situation in the pavilion will be totally different, and anyone who stays for a while will witness a visually astounding transformation. With Re-set, new wings for architecture, Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse demonstrates that architecture possesses the power to start anew. The exhibition is being curated by Ole Bouman, Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI). The 13th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice runs from 29 August to 25 November 2012.

An untouched tract of land and a substantial budget were for many years the chief preconditions for fine architecture, but the social issues of this day and age demand different points of departure. Taking advantage of existing potential and the creation of value in places where it seems to be vanishing - the ‘reanimation' of desolate buildings - is increasingly becoming the architect's core task.

With Re-set, Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse reveals a whole array of possibilities that an existing structure has to offer, taking the given situation as the starting point. With a mobile, tactile intervention, Petra Blaisse gives an impulse to a building that has stood vacant for 40 years - the Dutch Pavilion is in use for just three months of the year - an impulse that still awaits thousands of other Dutch government buildings.

Petra Blaisse: ‘We are not going to hang Objets d'Art, exhibit works or stage events. We are responding to the vacant architecture itself. One single mobile object occupies the space for three months and emphasises the building's unique qualities. This object will flow through the interior, re-configure its organisation and create new rooms along the way. Through relatively simple interventions the experience of light, sound and space will be manipulated so that new perspectives emerge.'

Re-set is the sequel to the Dutch submission to the International Architecture Exhibition in 2010, titled Vacant NL, a presentation by the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and Rietveld Landscape that shed light on the huge amount and enormous potential of disused buildings in the Netherlands. This presentation became a hot topic - in Venice, in the Netherlands, around the world - and one of the many things it spawned is the creation of an MA course on this very subject in the Netherlands.

The overarching theme of this edition of the Architecture Biennale is Common Ground, and its artistic direction is in the hands of David Chipperfield.

The Dutch entry/submission is being organised by the Netherlands Architecture Institute on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

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