Vatican Chapels
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Vatican Chapels, the Holy See Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Vatican Chapels
Holy See Pavilion
16th International Architecture Exhibition – Venice Biennale


Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
26 May – 25 November 2018


This year, the Holy See makes its first-ever contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale with the Vatican Chapels Pavilion, conceived by Francesco Dal Co. Electa is collaborating on the project by publishing a catalogue on the ten chapels and exhibition pavilion.
The project was inspired by a specific model: the 1920 Woodland Chapel by the acclaimed architect Erik Gunnar Asplund for Stockholm’s cemetery. The theme of the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter, mediation and salutation – as Asplund described it – was put to ten architects, asked to design and construct as many chapels in a tree-lined space at one end of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
It is a composite and scattered pavilion that can be visited in stages along an itinerary that is also a spiritual pilgrimage. The chapels are set in “natural and totally abstract surroundings, connoted only by the fact that they overlook the lagoon and open onto the water”, says Dal Co about a unique project that gave the architects the freedom to design “without referring to the usual standards”. The presence of an altar and lectern inside the chapels is a common fulcrum and their distinguishing and unifying feature.

The architects who designed the ten chapels and the exhibition pavilion for Vatican Chapels are:
Andrew Berman (USA),
Francesco Cellini (Italy),
Javier Corvalàn (Paraguay),
Eva Prats e Ricardo Flores (Spain),
Norman Foster (UK),
Teronobu Fujimori (Japan),
Sean Godsell (Australia),
Carla Juacaba (Brazil),
Smiljan Radic (Cile),
Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal),
Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel designed the pavilion, housing an exhibition of drawings by Erik Gunnar Asplund for the “Skogskapellet”, Stockholm’s “Woodland Chapel”.

The official opening of the Pavilion, in the presence of Cardinal Ravasi, is on Friday 25 May in the gardens of the Island of San Giorgio in Venice. The Pavilion will be open to the public from 26 May to 25 November 2018. The catalogue published by Electa under the tradename Electaarchitettura will be on sale from 23 May.