The invitation to imagine the embodiment of the Swamp pavilion was based on the fact that the main Biennale space is nearly built to its limits. The only area where new construction may still be possible is along the edge of the Giardini – Venice’s major parkland, which was originally a marshland. However, this area even lacks land: it is a triangular patch of water next to the Biennale’s territory, separated only by a fence and the Viale dei Giardini Pubblici.
This public space was a proposition for an alternative mode of growth for the Biennale, one that forgoes claims on ever more precious and costly private urban land, and instead suggests the possibility of an open and generative urbanism, a living organism that invites in both new publics and existing communities. This is a grey zone, belonging at once to all, and at the same time, to no one.
This specific territory in Venice was proposed as imaginative exercise location for the Swamp Pavilion. The project-as-action is simultaneously belligerently radical and peacefully diplomatic. On the one hand, it is a provocation regarding the expansion of national territories within the Biennale’s international context. On the other hand, the place’s specific limits inhibit incursion onto the land area, locating the pavilion where pre-existing elements of air and water are available. In this Janus-like project, two identities become intertwined: that of a human as a representative of a particular nation with a human as a part of and cohabiter with “nature,” thus representing an inhabitant of planet Earth.
In this context, the theme of immateriality becomes an important point of reference. The Swamp Pavilion aims not so much to occupy a place as to create a space of constant re-creation, one in which it would be possible to offer various acts, one where the role being formed is itself highlighted. In this way, the theme of a defined architectural form is connected with pedagogical – that is, shaping – practice. The Swamp Pavilion is a project of the imagination, during the construction of which non-material architectural discourses would be created with the help of broad-based educational practices.