The Luxembourg Pavilion at the 17th Architecture Biennale reflects on how the pandemic has brought a series of dualities to the spotlight, challenging the understanding of the relationships established between architecture and land, interior and exterior, home and work or the built environment and nature. In light of these issues, the exhibition titled Homes for Luxembourg, designed by Sara Noel Costa de Araujo (Studio SNCDA) and featuring contributions to the architecture publication Accattone explores ideas of modular, reversible living while also illustrating a model of repurposing land to build new forms of togetherness.
The exhibition at the Arsenale’s Sale d’Armi showcases a modular installation, a reflection of the speculative architectural project regarding modular, mobile housing created by Studio SNDCA. The design called ‘Gesamtwerk!’ addresses the housing shortage faced by Luxembourg, where land prices make housing unaffordable for most of its growing population and imagines the deployment of the modular units in clusters across vacant sites in the country, as many landowners leave their land undeveloped, finding it lucrative enough through the yearly rates. The project, thus, envisions a temporary housing scheme that challenges set norms regarding lifestyle, living standards, governance and urban design, raising questions on the validity and desirability of such solutions.
The design of the modular unit distances itself from tiny house ideas or typologies characteristic to emergency responses. Taping into the local desire for detached houses with gardens, the project proposes a thin and slender unit with glazed façades on three sides, featuring a back wall integrating service spaces and an open plan layout. The minimal dwelling can accommodate different households and domestic programmes using several units. The project stems from the collaboration of architects, a photographer, a textile designer, a researcher and a structural engineer. It condenses multiple perspectives, from that of the users, to the authorities view, to the stakeholder’s perception.
The installation designed by Studio SNDCA is a speculative vision addressing the housing crisis within the local context of Luxembourg, shaping the conversation around issues such as land privatisation, governance and economic power. Together with the modular, scenographic installation, the Pavilion also features the contributions to architecture publication Accatone on the topic of domesticity. The contributors come from various disciplines, from architecture, urban planning to art, photography, engineering, ecology or law, shaping an overarching narrative on alternative modes of living. Accattone is a printed magazine exploring minor practices in art and architecture.
Complementary to the Pavilion is Luxembourg’s first curatorial residency program, which will enable emerging curators, authors and activists in the field of architecture to explore this year’s Biennale and acquire a deep understanding of the international discourse of the moment, thus developing ideas for new projects.
Department of Architecture:Department of Architecture – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)