Uzbekistan national Pavilion – Venice Architecture Biennale 2023
The Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan (ACDF) has unveiled Uzbekistan’s National Pavilion for the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, which will run from May 20 to November 26, 2023. Curated by architecture firm Studio KO, the pavilion titled ‘Unbuild Together,’ was conceived as a response to this year’s theme ‘Laboratory of the Future’, and draws on various facets of Uzbekistan’s architectural heritage to reflect on, and at the same time challenge, their potential relevance to the notion of modernity.
all images © Vyacheslav Pak, courtesy of ACDF
examining the ruins of Qalas
Unbuild Together is a research project that examines the ruins of the Qalas, ancient fortresses in Karakalpakstan, the legacy of the Khorezm civilization, and the traditional bricks used for their construction. Bricks, a universal and at the same time archaic material, are the basic building block of Uzbek architecture.
Working alongside the students and professors of Ajou University in Tashkent, Studio KO will explore the materiality of bricks, earth and clay. Through theoretical working experiments with the students and reinterpretation of the ways of brick making, construction techniques and surface treatments, the spatial proposal of the pavilion will emerge.
‘Participation is above all collaborative, placing the human being at the centre of our approach. Through the exchanges between the curators (Studio KO), researchers (Ajou University in Tashkent), craftsmen and associated artists, a collective proposal will emerge, leaving a place for the unexpected’. shares the team at Studio KO.
‘Uzbekistan is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and its ancient Qalas (fortresses) and traditional craftsmanship are an important part of this legacy. The Qalas, which are found throughout the country, are an enduring symbol of the resilience and strength of the Uzbek people, and are a testament to the country’s long and varied history. By promoting their significance at the Venice Architecture Biennale, we can help to raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage preservation and encourage others to join us in this effort’. shares Saida Mirziyoyeva, Head of the Communications and Information Policy Section of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
‘As we look towards the future, our ancient heritage can help us to rethink the trajectory of humanity and the role that architecture plays in shaping our collective destiny. By examining the architectural remains of past societies, we can gain insight into the values, beliefs, and technologies that shaped their worlds. This in turn can inform our own design choices and decision-making as we work to build a better future. Traditional Uzbek bricks made using centuries-old techniques are durable, sustainable, and beautiful. Manufactured from natural materials, they are still sturdy and can last millennia, making them a good choice for long-lasting building projects’. adds Gayane Umerova, Executive Director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.