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In sort of triptych that includes the previous experiences at the Art Biennales of 2013 and 2015, the Holy See takes part for the first time this year in the Venice Architecture Biennale, through the creation of the Vatican Chapels Pavilion curated by Francesco Dal Co.

The Pavilion, entitled “Vatican Chapels” and curated by Professors Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forti, is inspired by the model of the Chapel in the Wood, built in 1920 by the famous architect Gunnar Asplund in the Stockholm Cemetery.

The theme of the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter, mediation and salutation – as Asplund put it – has been suggested to ten architects, invited to design and build ten chapels in a wooded area at one end of the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Therefore this will be a composite, distributed pavilion, visited in stages along an itinerary that is also a spiritual pilgrimage. The chapels created by the architects, thanks to the indispensable support of important contractors and contributors, will be arranged in “an utterly abstract natural setting, marked only by its presence on the lagoon, its openness to the water,” as Dal Co explains, emphasizing the unique, original character of the initiative which has granted the architects complete freedom to design “without any reference to commonly recognized canons.” Inside the chapels, the shared fulcrum and identifying, unifying feature is represented by the presence of the altar and the lectern.

The choice of the invited architects was based on the decision to focus on designers capable of applying different expressive languages, all with clear personalities from the standpoint of constructive experimentation, belonging to different generations and hailing from Europe, Australia, Japan, the United States and South America, in order to reflect the universal – indeed  “catholic” – nature of the Church.

Ten chapels

The protagonists

Professor Francesco Dal Co

Arch. Renata Codello – Direttore Affari Generali Fondazione Giorgio Cini