10 Chapels in a Venice Forest Comprise The Vatican’s First Ever Biennale Contribution


Aerial view. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Aerial view. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

With the opening of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale comes a look at the first ever contribution by the Holy See, an exhibition that brings together architects to design chapels that, after the Biennale, can be relocated to sites around the globe.

Located in a wooded area on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore, 10 chapels by architects including Norman Foster, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Smiljan Radic, are joined by the Asplund Chapel by MAP Architects. This 11th structure serves as a prelude to the other chapels, while reflecting on Gunnar Asplund’s 1920 design for the Woodland Chapel.

The Asplund Pavilion, like the Woodland Chapel that inspired it, is intended as a “place of orientation, encounter, meditation, and salutation.” The interior hosts an exhibition of drawings by Gunnar Asplund for the Woodland Chapel, accompanied by documents and models illustrating its concept and construction. The subsequent journey sees visitors encounter 10 chapels symbolizing the Ten Commandments, also offering 10 unique interpretations of the original Woodland Chapel.

Below, we present new photographs of the 11 completed structures comprising the first Holy See Pavilion.

Smiljan Radic, Chile


Smiljan Radic. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Smiljan Radic. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Carla Juaçaba, Brazil


Carla Juaçaba. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Carla Juaçaba. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Javier Corvalán, Paraguay


Javier Corvalán. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Javier Corvalán. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sean Godsell, Australia


Sean Godsell. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sean Godsell. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Eva Prats & Ricardo Flores, Spain


Flores&Prats. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Flores&Prats. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Eduardo Souto de Moura, Portugal


Eduardo Souto de Moura. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Eduardo Souto de Moura. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Francesco Cellini, Italy


Francesco Cellini. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Francesco Cellini. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Norman Foster, United Kingdom


Norman Foster. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Norman Foster. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Andrew Berman, USA


Andrew Berman. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Andrew Berman. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Teronobu Fujimori, Japan


Teronobu Fujimori. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Teronobu Fujimori. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Asplund Chapel, MAP Architects


MAP Architects. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

MAP Architects. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

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