Vértigo Horizontal. The Argentine Pampas at the Architecture Biennale 2018

With a sensorial set-up, the Argentina pavilion relates ‘generous’ post-dictatorial architecture to the most spectacular element of the country: the landscape.

Vértigo Horizontal, Padiglione Argentina, Biennale Architettura 2018. Foto Federico Cairoli

Argentina is presented at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition with “Horizontal Vertigo”, a tribute to the landscape as a unifying element of the South American country. Curated by the architects Javier Mendiondo, Pablo Anzilutti, Francisco Garrido and Federico Cairoli, the pavilion at the Arsenale aims on the one hand to bring to Venice the vastness of the Argentine landscape, and on the other present the horizontal nature of numerous local designs. 

Argentina Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2018
Argentina Pavilion, “Vértigo Horizontal”, Venice Biennale 2018. Photo Federico Cairoli

The dark hall contains a glass parallelepiped through which one can just make out herbaceous plants, while the perimeter walls display a linear progression of design sketches which describe the architectural production of the last decades, with differing programmes and scales. Together, these works outline a horizontal landscape in which individual works and collective projects come into contact with each other. The section examines works built since 1983, the year in which democracy returned to Argentina. The designs therefore are of a democratic character: public parks, social structures or joint projects. “These are works which we consider to be generous”, the curators explain.

“Vértigo Horizontal”, Venice Biennale 2018. Photo Federico Cairoli
“Vértigo Horizontal”, Venice Biennale 2018. Photo Federico Cairoli

After having followed the horizontal line of the designs, one’s gaze settles on the central glass house. Once inside, one discovers that the glass panels are mirrors which amplify the layer of turf to infinity, under a projection of the Argentine sky, which changes with the passing of time. “The landscape is part of our DNA, both from a human point of view and a way of reading architecture. There are no hierarchical subdivisions, only structures which are somatic, spontaneous, representing collaboration, contamination and resonance. They become the common thread in an architecture spread over a vast territory, and at times difficult to reach. From inside the cube, the designs can be seen through the glass, in correspondence with the horizon, symbolising synergy and reciprocity.” 

Argentina pavilion, curators, Venice Biennale 2018
The curators of the Argentina Pavilion. From left: Federico Cairoli, Pablo Anzilutti, Francisco Garrido, Javier Mendiondo
Vértigo Horizontal
Javier Mendiondo, Pablo Anzilutti, Francisco Garrido and Federico Cairoli
Arsenale, Venice Biennale
Opening dates:
26 May – 25 November 2018
Campiello Tana 2169/F, Venice

Special Biennale

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