Venice Biennale Bahrain Pavilion – Golden Lion Award

Venice Architecture Biennale Bahrain Pavilion 2010, Golden Lion Award, Exhibit, Images, Design

Venice Biennale 2010 Bahrain Pavilion : Architecture

Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion

Venice Biennale Bahrain Pavilion

BAHRAIN WINS GOLDEN LION FOR BEST NATIONAL PAVILION AT VENICE BIENNALE

The Kingdom of Bahrain has been awarded the Golden Lion for the best national participation at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The theme of the pavilion, RECLAIM, is an exploration of the decline of sea culture in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Three fisherman’s huts displaced from their original sites in Bahrain are the focus of the exhibition.

Venice Biennale fisherman's huts Venice Biennale fisherman's huts Bahrain Venice Biennale Bahrain Pavilion Venice Biennale Architecture Bahrain Pavilion
photo © Camille Zakharia photography

The Pavilion was initiated by the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Minister of Culture and Information, Her Excellency Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa.  The curators of the pavilion are Noura Al- Sayeh and Dr Fuad Al-Ansari, architects engaged in both teaching and practice in Bahrain.

The exhibition’s concept, design and production were realised in collaboration with lapa at the EPFL, Lausanne, and its director, Professor Harry Gugger.

This is the first official national participation of a Gulf State at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition will run from the 29th of August to the 21st of November 2010. The Pavilion is located in the Arsenale Artigliere.

The Kingdom of Bahrain Venice Architecture Biennale Pavilion -Credits

Ministry of Culture ­ Kingdom of Bahrain
Sh. Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa ­ commissioner
Noura Al Sayeh ­ architect, curator
Dr. Fuad Al Ansari ­ architect, curator
Harry Gugger ­ architect, lapa, exhibition design
Leopold Banchini ­ architect, lapa, exhibition design
Stefano Tropea ­ architect, local coordinator
Mohammed Rashid Bu Ali ­ film director
Camille Zakharia ­ photographer
Valentin Brustaux ­ graphic designer
Philip Enquist ­ architect, SOM, contributor
Suha Mattar ­ partner Moirai communications, contributor
Michael Arora ­ marine consultant, contributor
Tamadher Al Fahal ­ interior designer, research team
Fay Al Khalifa ­ architect, research team
Mona Yateem ­ urban designer, research team
Fatema Al Hammadi ­ architect, research team
Deena Ashraf ­ architect, research team
Mohammed Al Qari ­ architect, research team

The Kingdom of Bahrain Venice Architecture Biennale Pavilion -Statements

Venice Biennale Bahrain Pavilion
photo © Adrian Welch

Her Excellency Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Commissioner of the Bahrain National Participation said:
“It has long been my dream to bring a national representation of my Kingdom to the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale. Our participation at this year’s Biennale Architecttura inscribes itself in our ongoing efforts to promote the cultural scene of our small Island Kingdom and to participate in the contemporary architecture debate, representing a voice from a region that is often spoken about but who less often voices its experiences and challenges. When we first starting gathering thoughts as to
how we would choose to represent our kingdom at this architecture exhibition, we quickly agreed that what characterizes our society most while representing significant urban and architectural challenges is our ever-evolving relation to the sea. It is hoped that through our participation we are able to portray in an objective way a segment of our urban landscape, sharing with you the challenges, which lay ahead of us in the hope that a shared debate can be raised.”

Prof. Harry Gugger, former partner of Herzog & de Meuron, now principal of Harry Gugger Studio and Director of the Laboratory for the Production of Architecture (lapa) at EPFL, in collaboration with curators Noura Al Sayeh and Dr. Fuad Al Ansari and his assistant Leopold Banchini responsible for the exhibition, design and production said:
“It was our ambition to create a pleasant and intriguing place where people would naturally want to hang out and rest and where they eventually would effortlessly get informed about a fundamental topic of Bahrain’s culture and heritage, the crucial but vulnerable relationship with the sea. In that sense the space in the Arsenale is used as a natural backdrop for the human artifacts, the sea shacks which allow their owners to contemplate an immediate relationship with the sea. Having been dismantled in Bahrain and resurrected at the Arsenale in the exact same way, the shacks talk of another interesting topic, architecture without Architects. We hoped that with this concept we could engage with the maybe vague but taken seriously highly ambitious theme of this year’s Biennale, People meet in Architecture.”

Noura Al Sayeh, Head of Architectural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture and Co-curator of the exhibition said: “As a first time participation, we had the double challenge of preparing a compelling exhibition, which at the same time would act as an ambassador to Bahrain, a country which many people would hear of for the first time. From the start, we tried to avoid that this first participation become a showcase for contemporary architecture in Bahrain, but instead use the Biennale as a platform from which we would be able to debate on our urban and architectural challenges. Rather than focusing on the more publicized issues of the rampant urban development and land reclamation, we chose to take a look at the social consequences of these transformations and the way in which Bahrainis were reacting to them through architecture.”


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Venice Biennale Bahrain Pavilion 2010