Vatican Chapels

The Holy See takes part for the first time at the Venice Architecture Biennale with a project curated by Francesco Dal Co on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore

In a sort of triptych that includes the previous experiences at the Venice Art Biennale in 2013 and 2015, the Holy See takes part this year, for the first time, in the Biennale d’Architettura in Venice (26 May / 25 November 2018), creating the Vatican Chapels pavilion, based on an idea of Francesco Dal Co.

The project takes its cue from a precise model, the Woodland Chapel built in 1920 by the famous architect Gunnar Asplund at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, illustrated in an installation at the start of the exhibition itinerary, featuring drawings and the original project.

The theme of the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter, meditation and salutation has been proposed to ten architects, invited to each create one chapel inside the wooded area of the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

A composite, diffused pavilion that forms an itinerary and becomes a sort of spiritual pilgrimage. The chapels, thanks to the support of sector companies and sponsors, are arranged in “an utterly abstract natural setting, characterized only by its openness to the lagoon and the water,” Dal Co explains, emphasizing the unique, original character of the project, in which the architects were completely free to work “without any reference to commonly recognized canons.”

The architects behind the ten chapels and the introductory pavilion are: Andrew Berman (USA), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Javier Corvalàn (Paraguay), Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores (Spain), Norman Foster (UK), Terunobu Fujimori (Japan), Sean Godsell (Australia), Carla Juacaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), and Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel for the installation containing the exhibition of the drawings of Gunnar Asplund for the “Skogskapellet” in Stockholm.

The catalogue of the Vatican Chapels Pavilion of the Holy See – edited by Francesco Dal Co, with texts by Gianfranco Ravasi, Francesco Dal Co and Elisabetta Molteni, is published by Electaarchitettura.

Coordinated image and catalogue graphic design by Tassinari/Vetta.