Diary of Vardiya 11 – Redrawing Venice

Day 01- 02.10.2018 Tuesday

We woke up early in the morning after our arrival in Venice and we went to Redentore stop to ride the ferry. First, we had to go to the Pavilion of Turkey. We went to our pavilion in Arsenale to hand over some documents, pick up our cards, pick up the phone of Vardiya, see the pavilion and check the list of materials. We had time for coffee and breakfast in a cafe before we reached the pavilion. After we saw the works in the pavilion, we started to visit Arsenale. While examining the pavilions in Arsenale, it was very useful to see new methods in architectural representation methods. According to the theme called as free space in this year, it was a good experience to see different countries handling this issue. We have seen architectural solutions for free space in different countries. After the tour of the pavilions, we had a lunch break together and we continued to visit the exhibition. At the entrance of Arsenale, it was a pleasure to experience the installations of different architecture offices in the main area, mostly in a 1:1 scale. Those who rushed Arsenale went to Giardini. The rest of the group continued to travel around Arsenale. We set a certain hour in the evening and met for dinner. Then we took our ice cream and walked the streets of Venice for a long time and spent time in the Santa Margherita square and returned to where we stayed overnight.

Day 02- 03.10.2018 Wednesday

On our second day, we started the day at Giardini. We met with our coordinators for first time at our lunch break while trying to complete to visit the all country pavilions and the main pavilion. We discussed about how we will proceed in the coming days and what we will study about. After this brief meeting, we spent some time at the Giardini, and then left there to visit the exhibition where works of Francois Roche and Peter Eisenman are exhibited who will be our roundtable and keynote speech guests in this shift. Then we separated to groups to visit our buildings which we had chosen and will be working at this workshop. These five buildings are; Fondacio dei Tedeschi, San Giorgio Maggiore, San Marco Campanile, Santa Maria della Salute and Scuola Grande di San Marco. After doing some researches and analysis, we got back together and spent our time sitting by a canal and having a nice pizza.

Day 03- 04.10.2018 Thursday

This was our first day in the pavilion with tutors. We meet at the pavilion at 9:30 and started the day with a robust discussion about the idea of ‘Rewriting History’. Tutors Eren and Erdem started the conversation with a brief introduction to the elementary concepts of Object Oriented Onthology, we’ve discussed about Graham Harman’s and David Ruy’s work and how they are related to architecture today. We’ve also discussed about Evliya Çelebi’s memorials, Piranesi’s etchings called ‘Views’ or ‘Vedute’, the beginning of movie: Star Wars (1.000.000 years ago in a far far away galaxy), drawing and its critical relationship with architecture, concepts of approximation & abstraction and how those are related with spatial design, representation and critique of it, history and how it is written, iconography, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo, language of architecture, legibility and so on…

After our prosperous conversation, we started preparations for François Roche’s online roundtable talk. At 11:00 we contacted Roche. We made a brief introduction on who he is, and on his work. Then our speaker talked for approximately thirty minutes without a break before imitating an online suicide. We tried contacting him for a while and then gave up after fifteen minutes. It was a pity not having a chance to discuss about his work and our perspective, which we were very excited about. Also, it was unfortunately very hard to hear his speech because of some connection and pronounciation problems. Two days later, we’ve heard that he declared becoming a zombie after the suicide and wants to answer our questions if we have any. Anyways, after this disappointing event, we’ve gathered as a group to talk about our assigned buildings. Every participant showed some images and preliminary drawings about her/his building and we discussed each of them. After that, we’ve talked about formal analysis, mostly about Peter Eisenman’s method of it, checked some examples, and tried to use this method on our assigned buildings in order to articulate more understanding about them. After this, tutors made a critique list and talked with each participant about how they would like to move forward working on their building.

Lastly, at around 17:00 we contacted our second online roundtable speaker, David Ruy. He gave a very interesting talk, weaving a discussion around topics like; defamiliarization, speculative realism, weird objects, mediation of the world, J.G. Ballard and his internalistic unusual way of writing fiction, aesthetics, represantation, micro colonialism and so on…

After this very hard working day, with all group we went to a restaurant in via Garibaldi, which is close to the Pavilion of Turkey. There we delved into really nice pasta, pizza, aperol and prosecco. At some point in that tiring night, we’ve seen a giant cruiser ship entering Venezian waters. It was ironically ‘defamiliarized’, weird, and poetic at the same time.

Day 04- 05.10.2018 Friday

After a very busy and suprising day with the suicide of Francois Roche we have learned that he will continue his life as a zombie! We all relaxed a bit and after two dense speeches by architects Francois Roche and David Ruy we had lots of inspirational and futuristic thoughts on our minds. We came to Arsenale at 8 AM, earlier than the other days and we have started with talking about some formal analysis of the buildings, which we were assigned to work on. We tried to solve some architectural elements of the buildings and drew some formal analysis diagrams. We have discussed about those diagrams with our instructors individually. They gave us some feedback about our works. We had one more online conversation with David Norell from Norell/Rodhe architects from Stockholm. We have talked about his projects “Grain figures”, “Klumpedunser”, “Nine rooms”, “Erratic”, “Two- face furniture” and “Skelleptea kulturhus”! It was a very good presentation and we have learned a lot about his design process and his way to abstract real life objects in a very abstract way. He also talk about some fabrication methods and technology related with his design. After this conversation we continued to develop our ideas and talked again with the instructors. Everyone studied individually and during this process some visitors asked us about our projects. At the end of the day, we left the building quite late and continued work in our dormitory!

Day 05- 06.10.2018 Saturday

After Friday’s hard work and evening bonanza, Saturday started with several cappuccinos and delicious marmelade croissants at our usual meeting spot near Redentore. This time we met earlier at the Arsenale than usual for an early design session in order to get some work done before we would have the opportunity to meet with “Uncle Eisi”. The reason why I call Peter Eisenman uncle Eisi is the way that he approached our group. From the start, the dialogue with Mr. Eisenman felt like an informal conversation with family members over some afternoon cake and coffee. Still, Peter never failed to express precisely his critical thoughts about the discipline of architecture while creating a friendly atmosphere that engaged all the visitors and workshop members to join the discussion. After his speech on the importance of experiencing spaces of Venice and drawing them in order to understand their values we decided to finish most of the workshop assignment until the evening so that we could spend the Sunday afternoon for further exploring the city. As usual, the evening work session was topped of with some tasty Italian food and Prosecco followed by a spontaneous night visit of the Redentore Church in Giudecca.

Day 06- 07.10.2018 Sunday

On Sunday, October 7th, we have started off our day with finishing the final remaining parts of our projects, taking prints and setting up the exhibition. We have finalized our reinterpretative drawings of our selected buildings, and our written explanatory texts elaborating the scenario that we have conceived. We have printed a catalogue covering all of our projects and also posters that explain the history and analysis of the building. We have scanned our sketches and plan drawings and hanged them to our shift’s spot according to our exhibition format. After having finished printing and hanging our materials, we have left the Pavilion of Turkey. In our spare afternoon we have visited the Vatican chapels that are interpreted by famous architects in the scope of the biennale. We also had the chance to visit the Church of the Santissimo Redentore which was highly recommended to us by Eisenman that it was the building to see in Venice. As he claimed, among many other Palladio buildings that exist in the city, Redentore was a particular experience indeed. Later we headed towards the Grand Canal and spent the rest of the night having a good dinner and wandering in the streets of Venice.

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