Three pavilions stand out for their artistic qualities: Bahrain, Austria, and the United Kingdom. I wrote about the Bahrain pavilion in my first post; I’ll only note here that Studio Anne Holtrop and landscape architect Anouk Vogel have created a singular piece in which notions of inside and outside are constantly shifting, to allow the food-bearing plants of this desert kingdom to become works of art within a larger piece of art.
“Breathe Austria” explores the power of the forest to provide oxygen, cooling, and food. One enters under the pavilion and up a ramp, through a piece of Austrian forest that is both enclosed by the pavilion yet spills out below it. Walking up one is greeted by the word “BREATHE,” which breaks apart into a “B,” an “R,” and an “HE” – ultimately revealing “EAT” at the end of the path, a celebration of the pavilion’s sole function: the tasting bar.
Next one circulates the forest on a walkway along the pavilion walls, here stained a dark brown in contrast to the grey concrete exterior. The pavilion claims to be an open source prototype showing how this forest in the pavilion can (with the aid of fans) cool a building about 5°C from external temperatures and through oxygen production create a stimulating environment. Viewfinders allow once to “investigate the forest,” but the most powerful part of the pavilion is the presence of the forest captured in a box.