The Botanical Garden at Biennale Architettura 2021

In addition to Spandrel, the curatorial installation at the Italian Pavilion, The Forbidden Garden of Europe, an international collaboration with Studio Wild

The 2021 edition of Biennale Architettura - How will we live together? – questions our society about new ways to live together, a social and political issue that leads to the search for a new relationship with the environment that surrounds us, and for answers to the challenges that architecture is called on to face nowadays.

Since its opening last May, the University of Padua Botanical Garden has been a protagonist of these reflections through the installation Spandrel, created in partnership with Alessandro Melis and Heliopolis 21 inside the Italian Pavilion: three tree-like structures and spheres that protect glass tubes containing plant seeds, guardians of biodiversity on our planet, of theBotanical Museum’s Spermoteca Italica collection.

From 27th August, another original interpretation of the Biennale 2021 is provided by the installation The Forbidden Garden of Europe, the product of a collaboration between Studio Wild, a collective based in Amsterdam and formed by the two young architects Tymon Hogenelst and Jesse van der Ploeg, who designed a ‘garden of invasive alien plant species’, and Padua Botanical Garden, which grew and supplied all the plants on display and edited the texts.

The idea for this project originated in 2016, when European legislation drew up a list of 35 plant species which, based on their characteristics, have been considered since then a threat to native European species and therefore became illegal to be grown, traded, or transported throughout the EU.

Using plants as a metaphor, the installation aims at creating a parallel between the fate of these species and that of all men and women who struggle to find their place in Europe due to their different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. A stimulus for questioning the meaning of such laws, limiting the movement of people, and for proposing a more inclusive model, where post-Covid-19 European society can represent an open, welcoming, and shared space.

You can visit the installation at Spazio Punch (Giudecca - Fondamenta S. Biagio, 800/o), Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm-7pm. Advance booking required.


Biennale Architettura 2021 – until 21st November

The Forbidden Garden of Europe

Spandrel and Italian Pavilion