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projects ISSN 2595-4245


O Pavilhão da Santa Sé na 16ª Exposição Internacional de Arquitetura da Bienal de Veneza é baseado em um modelo preciso, a “capela da floresta” construída em 1920 pelo famoso arquiteto Gunnar Asplund no Cemitério de Estocolmo.

The Pavilion of the Holy See at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale is based on a precise model, the “woodland chapel” built in 1920 by the famous architect Gunnar Asplund in the Cemetery of Stockholm.

Il progetto per il Padiglione della Santa Sede alla XVI Mostra Internazionale di Architettura de La Biennale deriva da un modello preciso, la “cappella nel bosco” costruita nel 1920 dal celebre architetto Gunnar Asplund nel Cimitero di Stoccolma.

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DAL CO, Francesco. The Pavilion of the Holy See. 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, 2018. Projetos, São Paulo, year 18, n. 208.01, Vitruvius, apr. 2018 <>.

The project for the Pavilion of the Holy See at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennal is based on a precise model, the “woodland chapel” built in 1920 by the famous architect Gunnar Asplund in the Cemetery of Stockholm. To help visitors understand the reasoning behind this choice, an exhibit space will be set up as the first episode encountered at the entrance of the Pavilion of the Holy See, displaying the drawings and model of Asplund’s chapel.

With this small masterpiece Asplund defined the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter and meditation, seemingly formed by chance or natural forces inside a vast forest, seen as the physical suggestion of the labyrinthine progress of life, the wandering of humankind as a prelude to the encounter.

This theme has been proposed to the ten architects invited to build ten chapels, gathered in the densely wooded area at the end of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, to form the Pavilion of the Holy See, together with the space set aside for Asplund’s drawings.

In our culture we are accustomed to seeing the chapel as a space created for different reasons and aims inside a larger and often already existing religious space. The practice behind this perception has produced many models that share the factor of taking form in and belonging to an “other” space, a space of worship, a cathedral, a church, or more simply a place identified for having hosted an unusual occurrence, selected as being a recognized destination. In the modern era these models have given rise to the consolidation of a canon.

The request addressed to the architects invited to construct the Pavilion of the Holy See thus implies an unusual challenge, since the designers have been asked to come to terms with a building type that has no precedents or models. The chapels designed by the architects, in fact, will be isolated and inserted in an utterly abstract natural setting, characterized only by its way of emerging from the lagoon, its openness to the water. In the forest where the “Asplund pavilion” and the chapels will be located there are no destinations, and the environment is simply a metaphor of the wandering of life. This metaphor, in the case of the Pavilion of the Holy See, is even more radical than the one configured by Asplund, who built his chapel amidst the trees, but inside a cemetery. For these reasons, the architects of the Pavilion of the Holy See have worked without any reference to generally recognized canons, and without being able to rely on any model from a typological viewpoint, as is demonstrated by the only apparently surprising variety of the projects they have developed.

Vatican chapels

Pontificium Consilium de Cultura

S.E. Cardinale Gianfranco Ravasi

Francesco Dal Co, Micol Forti

Luigi Cocco, Francesco Magnani-Traudy Pelzel -Map Studio, Paolo Tassinari Tassinari/Vetta

supportes, builders of the pavilion
Alpi, Barth Interni, Gruppofallani, Laboratorio Morseletto, LignoAlp, MAEG, Morettimore, Panariagroup, SACAIM, Saint-Gobain Italia, Simeon, Tecno, Zintek

the architects of the holy see pavilion
Andrew Berman (Ft. Lee, Va, 1962), based in New York
Francesco Cellini (Roma, 1944), based in Roma
Javier Corvalan (Asunción, 1962), based in Asunción
Ricardo Flores (Buenos Aires, 1965), Eva Prats (Barcelona, 1965); Flores Prats, based in Barcelona
Teronobu Fujimori (Miyakawa-mura, 1946), based in Tokyo
Sean Godsell (Melbourne, 1960), based in Melbourne
Norman Foster (Manchester, 1935), Foster + Partners, based in London
Carla Juaçaba (Rio de Janeiro 1976), based in Rio de Janeiro
Smiljan Radic (Santiago del Cile, 1965), based in Santiago del Chile
Eduardo Souto de Moura (Porto, 1952), based in Porto
Francesco Magnani (Venezia, 1971), Traudy Pelzel (Venezia, 1967), Map-Studio, based in Venezia

Brazilian project
Chapel of the Vatican

author/ autor
Carla Juaçaba

architect colaborator / arquiteto colaborador
Clovis Cunha

engineer consultant / engenheiro consultor
Cerne Engenharia / Geraldo Filizola, Arthur Menezes

builder /construtor
Secco Sistemi

management / gerenciamento
Luigi Cuocco

about the author

Francesco Dal Co is an Italian historian of architecture. He graduated in 1970 at the University IUAV of Venice, and has been director of the Department of History of Architecture since 1994.


208.01 bienal de veneza
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original: português

outros: english




208.02 projeto institucional

Sesc Avenida Paulista

208.03 design

Projeto de mobiliário


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