togetherness/togetherless is a spatial composition curated by idis turato and the authorial team and exhibited at the croatian pavilion at the venice biennale 2021 that explores the ways in which basic, fundamental elements of architecture can be used to create a temporary community. the title refers to the individual’s need for closeness and being together, and the simultaneous, paradoxical inability to ever fully achieve it. the layers of history, context, and external references inscribed into the pavilion are greatly drawn from the croatian city of rijeka and its experience as the european capital of culture in 2020 when it served as an arena for spatial and artistic research and experimentation.
all images courtesy of togetherness/togetherless
the appearance of the pavilion togetherness/togetherless by idis turato is determined by three fundamental, universal, and timeless elements of architecture: the base, the column, and the roof. they are materialized as an assemblage of elements using resources from rijeka’s history, industrial past, and mass production. the city is regarded as a laboratory and archive of ready-made elements, some of which are then selected and displaced into an entirely novel context, thus given completely new meanings.
the building elements of the pavilion, isolated from their original context and tailored for a new purpose, temporarily adopt new functions and multiple possible identities, resulting in unexpected relations among each other, but also in relation to the visitor. with new and different spatial meanings reinscribed into them, they acquire a new spatial role and develop authentic architecture. such an approach to design, based on dislocation and redefinition, solidifies the method chosen in creating a new architectural order. thus, a concrete guard booth in the form of a hundred-year-old bunker serves as a load-bearing column and ‘a room for one’.
glass reinforced polyester structure crafted in a specialized maritime-vessel workshop serves as a hip roof element – the cornerstone of the pavilion. it is set at a height that forces visitors to bend down in order to get under it and experience the interior of the pavilion – a room for many. the roof’s low position also obviates the possibility of direct visual contact between people moving along the arsenal corridor and those under the pavilion roof, producing new relations and collective spatial tensions between passers-by and visitors under the roof.
various shipyard cutouts – originally part of a ship’s hull, form the structure of the base of the pavilion, a common ground. this ground element is positioned as a step up from the arsenale area, defining the territory of our community. in addition it serves as a structural function of counterbalance to all the other elements, which are connected to it. the fourth element of the pavilion is a green-screen look-alike wall and curtain that surrounds the structure of the pavilion. it instantly suggests an atmosphere of a film set, defining the pavilion as a performance stage on which images and relations are produced and manipulated. in this theatrical context, the whole spatial field of the pavilion becomes an accidental podium for the visitors to adopt temporary roles of members of an essential community formed and enabled by architectural elements.
the experience obtained when visiting the pavilion is corporeal mobility: peeking, bending, approaching, climbing, distancing. these repetitive actions, while being performed, become spatialized definitions of acceptance of being and non-being together. through the set-up and spatial characteristics, three elements comprising the pavilion enable and trigger various inter-relations, tensions, proximities, and/or interactions to come into play between the individual and the group.
edited by: yasmina karam | designboom