Participating in the 13th International Architecture Biennale “Common Ground,” curated by David Chipperfield, was an amazing experience this summer. Back in February, a few weeks into Peter Eisenman’s seminar ‘Diagrammatic Analysis,’ he announced that we would be using the class research on Piranesi’s Campo Marzio plan of Rome as a foundation for his exhibition called “The Piranesi Variations,” at the Venice Biennale. So we embarked on a task to design, invent, and build the 3rd dimension of the plan, which was eventually 3D printed and gold-leafed. Nothing like this has ever been executed before. (See previous post here) In addition, my dad, Anthony Ames was asked by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to be a part of their exhibition called “Wunderkammer.” TWBT selected 35 artists/peers to fill designated boxes with whatever inspires them. (See second image)
A view of Peter Eisenman’s own interpretation of a modern Campo Marzio.
When I arrived in Venice, the city was bustling with excitement in preparation for the pre-previews just days away. There were artists, builders, curators, designers, and architects rushing around in the heat of the day to complete their installations. Everyone would work all day, and then spill from the two exhibition locations - the Arsenale and Giardini - onto the web of restaurants and bars along Via Garibaldi.
A view of TWBT exhibition pavilion, Casa Scaffoli. Contrasting the boxes - Ames (white) on the wall, and Mayne (gold) in foreground.
Being involved in various stages of production for the Biennale - as a researcher and designer for Eisenman’s exhibit, and as an installer for TWBT exhibit - gave me the opportunity to work and make friends with an international group of people doing the same thing. Since we were in such close proximity to other pavilions and workers, this environment also allowed me to take part in a dialogue about architecture in a new way. Whether we were covered in sawdust, carrying heavy objects together, or talking about the future of parametric modeling, the energetic and positive atmosphere encouraged us to create a bond and understanding of each other’s work that otherwise would not have been possible. I will forever be grateful for the experience I have had this summer thanks to both teams I was a part of - Eisenman Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
Team TWBT: Daisy Ames, Kai Tsien-Williams and Chen Chen - after day two of installing exhibit “Wunderkammer” - cabinet of curiosities.
For more info:
ArchitectMagazine - here
Artribune - here
Piranesi Variations/ Eisenman:
ArchDaily - here
YaleNews - press release - here
YaleNews - here
NEW YaleNews - [interview and quote] - here