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An ancient dance

Wandering around the Giardini delle Biennale, I come across a curious pavilion.

This is the “ Varaintervention by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale which consists of 10 cylinders of different sizes that fit together and seem to play and dance with each other, in an ancient and unknown dialogue.

The name of the pavilion refers to the Vara Castellana, an obsolete unit of measurement that was used in Spain, Portugal and areas influenced by Spanish domination and refers to an auction, usually on 3 feet, which for each country varied in size . In addition, the Vara Castellana was also used as a unit to measure the cities conquered in America.

I go inside and immediately get lost, but not because I no longer find the exit. I get lost in my thoughts and in discovering all the 16 rooms that the dance of these circles create. The pavilion invites me to observe new details from different points of view: raising my head to the sky, peering through holes in the walls or, again, observing the succession of doors that show me the strolling of other guests who, like me, leave each other pampered by the sweet and soft shapes of this ephemeral architecture.

The perception of space varies and changes as I walk and the sense between inside and outside is lost.

I decide to stop and observe the other people who are in the pavilion and their way of using them: someone passes distractedly from one environment to another; a lady pauses to observe the rough texture of the plaster; other more curious people look inside the holes on the walls; some children, on the other hand, transform it into a large open space for play, I see them running and hiding in the rooms that are sometimes large and sometimes smaller and more cramped. The 2016 Venice Biennale urged us to change points of view and seek new perspectives. The intervention of the Chilean architects Pezo & Ellrichshausen allowed me to see how architecture can be enjoyed in different ways. A bit like Maria Reiche, I observed the space around me from my own perspective.


© photo / elaboration

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