Venice Architecture Biennale

METAMORPH was the 9th International Architecture Venice Biennale, curated by Kurt W.Forster. The Exhibition focused on the fundamental theoretical and practical changes taking place in contemporary architecture. This provided the visitor with the chance to explore the work of over 390 architecture studios which were presented through photographs, models, videos, and films.

MCA Metamorph Exhibition

Architecture today is required to show a new commitment and has broadened its range of disciplines in a significant manner. Its new role is that of catalysing great social and cultural experiences on an international scale. Architectural space is thus seen in terms of its capacity to live today’s changes: the new materials receive and emphasize atmospheric effects, and the perception of architecture opens itself to a dynamic conception of time.

The programme of METAMORPH was divided into two settings: the Italian Pavilion in the Giardini and the Corderie in the Arsenale. The Italian Pavilion in the Giardini presented installations commissioned from various designers, offering specific examples of how the various epochal changes have led to the recent transformations in architecture. There were also eight special installations by architects such as Ben van Berkel, Peter Eisenman, Kengo Kuma, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Massimo Scolari, Ron Arad, Wilkinson - Eyre, Sauerbruch + Hutton and others. These installations revealed the bonds that exist between metamorphoses in the organisation of the profession, the new types of building, materials, construction systems and innovations in the depiction and realisation of architecture. The Corderie in the Venice Arsenale, was the venue for works that have literally transformed the discipline of architecture since the 1970s, from those of Peter Eisenman (with his terrestrial automatisms), Frank Gehry (with buildings that transform themselves into fish), Aldo Rossi (architecture as memory), and James Stirling (the constructivist collage) to the latest trends and built projects.

An initial historical perspective was presented; this was fundamental to the exhibition’s aim to investigate the means by which architecture has acquired the ability to operate in radically new circumstances. Subsequently the exhibition was organised along a thread, starting with the transformation of existing buildings and broadening out to include the new topography. The spaces of the Corderie also hosted the sections dedicated to surfaces, atmosphere and hyper-projects. Step by step, their succession traced the rapid evolution of architecture, which is acquiring new dimensions and presenting increasingly specific qualities. The show became a platform for discussion and critical examination of today’s approach to architecture, while illustrating how the whole world seems to be in constant flux, but with similar architectural tendencies.

MCA Metamorph Catalogues

The role of Matteo Cainer was that of Assistant Director and co-curator. This involved initially travelling the globe to scout for young emerging and more consolidated architectural talents that would validate the curatorial hypothesis; subsequently, he coordinated both the architects and the exhibition design and layout in liaison with Asymptote (Installations and Exhibition Designers). He also specifically co-curated with Kurt Forster the ‘Concert Hall’ exhibition within the Italian Pavilion and designed its installation and layout.

METAMORPH - 9th International Venice Architecture Biennale 2004 
Kurt W. Forster - Director
Asymptote NY - Installation and Exhibition designers
Matteo Cainer - Assistant Director / co-curator
- Coordinator of exhibition design/layout
- Liaison to Architecture offices

Omnivore: graphic designers
Arup Lighting: lighting designers

Biennale di Venezia
Venice, Giardini - Arsenale
Venezia, Italy

Images 1,2,3- Courtesy Asymptote, Photography: Christian Richters