Review | Five of the best pavilions at Venice

Vatican chapel by Eduardo Souto de Moura at 2018 Venice Biennale

More than 80 national pavilions and events are being staged in Venice on the biennale theme of Freespace. Daniel Elsea picks five worth seeing

British Pavilion

Curated by Caruso St John Architects and artist Marcus Taylor, the British response to the overall theme of Freespace is Island. Winner of the Special Mention (the equivalent of second place) for the national pavilions, Island is fraught with angst over Brexit. A giant platform held up by scaffolding envelops the neo-Palladian building. Raw, and rather crude from ground level, a staircase to one side takes one up to a large rooftop piazza leaving only the top of the pavilion’s cupola exposed. It offers extraordinary views out over the other pavilions of the Giardini and across Venice. At first glance, the new structure’s sheer drama is hard to grasp, but thanks to drone photography, the lattice pattern of its wooden floor is readily tweetable. As a gesture in the cityscape, there are echoes of Aldo Rossi’s Teatro del Mundo from the 1979 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

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