How Will We Live Together?

How Will We Live Together? What a great question and how relevant to societies that are transitioning to a post Covid new working and living model. SSM Director Eugene Mullan visited the Venice Biennale Architettura 2021 by the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia recently and has some thoughts on the ideas that were promoted.

“This was a marathon event to attend, it was hard to grasp the great thinking and the creative explanation of ideas through buildings, art, sculpture and text. Some of the themes which seemed most relevant to our design of neighbourhoods in Scotland were:
• public / private space,
• co-housing,
• Impact of digital on our physical world.

The UK pavilion “The Garden of Privatised Delights” calls for new models of public space and challenges the polarisation of private and public. The balance between shared and private space was a common theme across many pavilions.

The Nordic Countries pavilion focussed on design for Co-Housing based on discussion with people about making a community. What activities they would like to share with fellow residents and how people can help each other. This generated a design with private accommodation around the edges and transition spaces to a central community gathering space.

Irelands Pavilion “Entanglement” was a sculpture which assaulted your senses, with noise, light and smell. It was constructed in the form of a bonfire from data equipment and highlighted that The Cloud is material, that data infrastructure has a colossal demand for energy and that most of us are blissfully unaware of the climate impact of our obsession with data.

My favourite was the Danish Pavilion – Connectedness, it created an open system connected to the earth’s cycles in which rainwater is collected and flows through the building. The water creates a very pleasant environment and is used to grow herbs which in turn make tea for the visitors. The sense of nature and the clear reference to addressing design for sustainable living created a very powerful experience.” – Eugene Mullan

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