South Africa Pavilion at Venice Biennale

How can a pavilion design encourage thinking and debate about architecture at the margins?


Services: Design, Research, Communication

Rashiq Fataar conceptualised and co-designed a competition entry for the South African pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture entitled ‘Urban Assembly ZA’.

The intention of the proposal for the South African pavilion was to stage the exhibition and its works to catalyse and inspire thinking as the basis for the interdisciplinary system required to work within the emerging future at the various margins.

The exhibition space is comprised of a series of overlapping human-scale spaces, representing a distinct turn away from minimalist approaches to the production of exhibitions. Through a series of pathways, the works will be set within a rich, deep, and colourful environment – an environment that is confidently South African. The interlocking spatial arrangement and relationship of the spaces is broadly reflective of an important interdisciplinary perspective, and will be presented through contrasting elements, textures, and mediums of like and unlike works.

The pavilion’s strategy, unlike that of a typical architectural exhibition, encourages time for pause, rest, and reflection. The passerby will be brought into the in-between spaces around and among the works, ultimately arriving at a stage for dialogue and debate. The works of various scales and mediums, which will be curated into several sub-themes, are approachable and tangible. The curatorial strategy will bring the people to the works and the works to people, ending the prevailing sense of public disconnection from architectural and urban discourse and action in South Africa.

The Pavilion design enables different mediums of communication and dialogue and is conceptualised to express as best as possible, a vibrant ambience and visual experience which is representative of the dynamism and diversity the country and its peoples have to offer.

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Client Quotes

Our objective is to execute the South African Pavilion as AN URBAN ASSEMBLY for debate, showcase, and action towards the CO-CREATION OF THE ARCHITECTURE OF EMERGENT FUTURES.


Team: DesignSpaceAfrica, Luyanda Mpahlwa, Stephanie Briers and Rashiq Fataar

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