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American Framing pays tribute to domestic architecture at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale – ArchPaper

Wood-framed construction is an architecture so ordinary that it’s often overlooked, forgotten, or dismissed, but American Framing wants to change that

The exhibition American Framing will explore the history and values of timber construction. Pictured: War housing construction, 1941 (Courtesy Library of Congress)
The exhibition American Framing will explore the history and values of timber construction. Pictured: War housing construction, 1941 (Courtesy Library of Congress)

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Like blue jeans and roadside buildings shaped like ducks, wood-framed construction is a singularly American invention—accessible, improvisational, and, yes, rooted in expansionism. But the centuries-long ubiquity of wood framing in the United States has also led to a cultural blotting-out or blind spot, a softwood amnesia of sorts. It’s an architecture so ordinary that it’s often overlooked, forgotten, dismissed.

“Its commonness and regularity exude a particular cultural effect that’s uniquely American,” said Paul Preissner, commissioner and co-curator of American Framing, an exhibition exploring the “conditions and consequences” of wood-framed construction at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. “It’s something that people can do on their own even if they have no experience and don’t come from construction backgrounds. The ease of access to architecture also evaporates any of the mystery to it, or specialness, and therefore makes it seem outside of the world of discourse, in a sense.”

Paul Andersen (left) and Paul Preissner are the curators of the American Pavilion at the 17th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale. (Chris Strong/Courtesy the Pavilion of the United States at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia)
Paul Andersen (left) and Paul Preissner are the curators of the American Pavilion at the 17th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale. (Chris Strong/Courtesy the Pavilion of the United States at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia)

Biennale visitors will be left with little doubt as to the theme of the U.S. Pavilion even before they step inside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation–owned 1930 Palladian building at the Giardini della Biennale. For American Framing, Preissner and Andersen, who lead private architectural practices in Chicago and Denver, respectively, in addition to teaching at UIC, have designed a monumental installation that completes the front facade of the neoclassical pavilion. In true American form, the pavilion advertises exactly what can be found inside.

Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper American Framing pays tribute to domestic architecture at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale

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