Maze-Like Pavilion For The Venice Biennale

A pavilion in a maze-like configuration that sits well in its environment is the grandeur piece at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 exhibition. Designed and constructed by Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, the pavilion in Venice Giardini is made up of ten overlapping cylinders and the way that each circle overlaps each other is rather like one big Venn Diagram. With all ten cylinders differently sized there's a really complex network of enclosed open-air spaces, each with varying experiences of enclosure. As a wanderer around the space, you really feel the difference between the largest and smallest of spaces.

Described as "...a series of exteriors within other exteriors" by Pezo von Ellrichshausen architects, "...our position is that architecture doesn't need any explanation." Of equal informality, the architects further explain that the size of each radius is a direct reference to the varying dimensions of a 'Vara', which is the locally known South American imprecise rod that was once used as a measuring tool to trace out cities during the Spanish-American colonial migration. Used by the Spaniards to conquer much of America, such a device was surely innovative at the time given their rapid expansion, and yet the tool was highly imprecise so modern day technology understands.

As a conceptual and intellectual space, the pavilion is very real and physical, and the combined atmosphere is quite a sensory one. Each of the cylinders are made from plaster and painted in a rich teal colour, both replicating the markings that are made by the tools that made the cylinders.

As Pezo explains, "...we're confused by so much data these days - social, political and economical problems" that we're forgetting the real experience of architecture, of that connection between nature, time and our own bodies." In real terms, architecture is such an expansive field that architect students study for 7 years eve nbefore graduating, and yet such precision and tightness in designs that are so often worked up and created are often lost at the construction stage, either by construction workers, natural material expansion etc., or aspects like unforeseen working conditions. Situated amongst the national pavilions that are the Giardini, this maze-like building is on show until 27 November 2016. Discover more about the exhibition at

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