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Svizzera 240: Housetour – The Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale Archittetura 2018 in Venice

The Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale Archittetura 2018 in Venice. Winner of the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.


Svizzera 240 focuses on the unfurnished interior of contemporary housing by celebrating a peculiar form of architectural representation — the House Tour.

Visitors to the Biennale Architettura are invited to come into the Swiss Pavilion and take a house tour of the ubiquitous apartment interior. What is built within the Swiss Pavilion is not a «house» but a house tour: interior scenes are constructed at a range of different scales and spliced together, creating a labyrinthine sequence of interior perspectives.

In preparing this tour, the pavilion’s architects assembled a vast archive of unfurnished interior photographs from the websites of Swiss architecture offices. By focusing attention on the apartment’s unadorned shell, these «house tour» images foreground an iconoclastic surface that has historically avoided the purview of architectural representation by hiding behind the plan’s promise of rationality and control. Like the whitewashed walls of art galleries or Protestant churches, the walls of a flat were never made to be looked at.

The installation reverses the standard format of the architectural exhibition. Instead of representing building (or using representation in order to build), the architects build representation. The construction of the installation adheres more to the principles of the image of an apartment than those of an actual apartment. The image’s inability to convey scale, dimension, depth or spatial adjacency is presented to the viewer in built form. You enter an impossible dwelling. On this tour, you are no longer an apartment dweller, builder or buyer — nor are you an academic or even an architect — you become an entirely new architectural subject, a house tourist.

Status Built
Location Venice, Italy
Year 2018
Type Construction
Team Bosshard & Tavor & van der Ploeg & Vihervaara