Visiting School

Beyond Entropy
Venice Biennale 26–31 August 2010

The AA Venice Visiting School investigated the relationship between space, energy and form initiated during the Architecture Biennale in 2010. The workshop combined ‘visiting’, as a critical moment of architectural thinking and ‘making’, as an operative method of architectural production.

The workshop aimed to use the concept of energy as a poetic device in order to define the possibility of new forms and spaces. In fact Venice is a paradigm of an urban and territorial development that is constantly engaging with the natural forces: tide, corrosion, crystallisation, gravity, deposition, suspension, transformation, decay, oxidation, growth etc. How to control these forces? How to enhance these transformations in order to produce habitable conditions? How to study and represent the city by using these forces?

The course organised a series of visits to the lagoon, to the inland development of Venice (as far west as Vicenza where we will visit a number of Palladian villas) and to companies and workshops located in the surroundings. Seminars, debates and presentations were arranged in collaboration with professors and local experts, in order to understand the urban and architectural implications of the notion of energy in relationship to the city and its architecture.

Students worked in groups to conceive, design and materialise a full-scale prototype that articulated their research and position on the theme of the course. The work was presented to a panel of jurors including curators, artists and entrepreneurs at the end of the workshop.

During the ten-day course the students produced one full-scale spatial prototype that engaged with the city as the temporary coalescence of ever-changing forces of transformation. The workshop was based at Fondazione Giorgio Cini on San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice.

Director Stefano Rabolli Pansera is founder and director of
Rabolli Pansera Ltd, an architectural practice involved in projects in UK, Italy and Lebanon. After graduating with honours from the AA in 2005, he worked for two years for Herzog & de Meuron in Basel. He has been teaching in the AA Intermediate School since 2005. He is director of the Research Cluster ‘Beyond Entropy: When Energy Becomes Form’.

Photo Valerie BennettPhoto Valerie BennettPhoto Valerie BennettPhoto Valerie BennettPhoto Valerie Bennett