Location: 14th International Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Administered by: National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and Ministry of Culture
Team: Jimenez Lai, Joanna Grant, Felipe Oropeza, Kevin Pazik, Shun-Ping Liu, Jacob Comerci, Manon Brissaud-Frenk, Eugenia Macchia, Aaron Spiering, Jay Studer, Alexander Petrakos
Consultants: Wei Tseng, Nilton Huang
Fabricator: Johnson Liao
Graphic Design: PENTAGRAM, Natasha Jen
Video Production: Matthew Mesner
Supported by: The Graham Foundation
Sponsor: Bank SinoPac
Photography: Iwan Baan
The experience of meandering through the Venice Biennale is not dissimilar from the journeys of Le Petit Prince – one wanders amidst a river of inquisitive souls, transporting themselves from worlds to worlds. We welcome the international sea of meandering guests into our home – an oasis, a temporary set, or a guesthouse – but a private diagram of domesticity inverted as public.
The Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan is a collection of nine small houses, each with a single program. Scattered inside the Palazzo delle Prigioni, it forms an interior township of misfit parts. Each house embodies one domestic program, such as the House of Sleep, or the House of Social Eating.
Domesticity is possibly one of the most fundamental beginnings of architecture. In some ways, we are trying to make a direct correlation between privacy and the production of the program. There is something very modern about the idea of programmatic specificity. In the Manor of Nietzsche, architectural critic Jeffrey Kipnis imposed a question: “Did the cavemen set out looking for a two bedroom cave?”
Architectural program, particularly throughout the 20th century, has evolved into a highly specialized vocabulary in the composition of the interior, and at times it even impacts the exterior. Through the institutionalization of the architectural program, we have set standards for evaluation as well as enhancing privacy, our civilization seems to have adapted to a new norm in the domestic grammar over the last 150 years.
As structures not quite big enough to be architecture and too large to be furniture, the nine small houses can be defined as super-furnitures. Isolating the diagrams of part-to-whole relationship and part-to-part relationships, we condensed each domestic program into its own freestanding super-furniture with character.
While this pavilion is fully functional as a guesthouse for international visitors, it also works through three thoughts in the discipline of architecture: domestic programmes as characters, private inverted public, and interior as the township.
Though this project functions as a guesthouse, it should also be considered both as an exhibition and an installation. As a fully functional oasis, the nine houses can be considered architectural installations – the experience is a 1:1 translation, not through photography or other means of representations. This idea of the pavilion is of the tradition set from Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, where the architectural effects are tested as such.