Two national pavilions and a wall that unites and divides at the same time form the fulcrum of Neighbours, the project by Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung for the 2023 Architecture Biennale

The Swiss Pavilion at the 2023 Biennale is entitled Neighbours.

The project illustrates the spatial and design closeness between the Swiss Pavilion and the adjacent Venezuelan Pavilion and the professional bond of the respective architects, the Swiss Bruno Giacometti (1907-2012) and the Italian Carlo Scarpa (1906 -1978).

See also: Architecture Biennale 2023: information, calendar and updates

The pavilions around protected trees

The Swiss Pavilion designed by Bruno Giacometti opened its doors just over 70 years ago in June 1952. Four years later, the Venezuelan Pavilion designed by Carlo Scarpa was built in the immediate vicinity. Since the old plane trees located on both lots could not be felled, the architects designed their buildings around the protected trees. The walls, roofs and external spaces of the buildings meet, creating a relationship of proximity.

The combination of floor plans

The two curators highlight the union of the floor plans which testifies to the creative affinity of the two architects also united by a friendship. “The Swiss and Venezuelan pavilions form a whole of extraordinary architectural and sculptural quality. Due to their representative function, however, they are conceived as distinct units and therefore also arranged accordingly. We therefore sought to rethink the functions of the two pavilions and their surrounding environment and to overcome their respective boundaries through artistic means. In this way we question both spatial, cultural and political demarcations and the conventions of national representation. With a utopian gesture, we contrast the place with a poetic reality that for a moment gives way to a new perspective”, say Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung.

The curators

Karin Sander is an artist and professor of art and architecture and Philip Ursprung professor of history of art and architecture at ETH Zurich.

The two leaders of the Neighbours project will be assisted by the curatorial manager, Sassa Trülzsch, project leader, Tobias Becker and researcher Berit</strong > Seidel.

Swiss Pavilion, Biennale 2023, in brief

    • Title: Neighbors
    • Curators and exhibitors: Karin Sander, Philip Ursprung
    • Commissioners: Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia Sandi Paucic, Project Leader; Rachele Giudici Legittimo, Project Manager
    • Parallel events: debates and meetings will be held between Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi and the Swiss pavilion in the Giardini, as well as insights into the friendship between Bruno Giacometti and Carlo Scarpa, and the close relationship between the two national pavilions.
    • More information on Swiss participation in the Venice Biennale: