PH's 'Structures of Mutual Support' honored at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale

Published September 3, 2021, 3:10 PM

by John Legaspi

“Structures of Mutual Support,” the Philippine s’ exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, took home the Special Mention as National Participation honor last Aug. 30, 2021, the first-ever award for the Philippines from the prestigious event.

Interior of ‘Structures of Mutual Support’ (Photo by Federico Vespignani and Andrea Altoe)

Curated by Framework Collaborative, which is composed of architects Sudarshan V. Khadka, Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes together with GK Enchanted Farm community in Bulacan, the exhibit is an ode to the Filipino spirit of bayanihan. Mirroring this year’s theme of “How will we live together?”, the Philippine Pavilion’s “Structures of Mutual Support” presents the importance of merging traditions with contemporary strategies.

Exterior of the exhibit (Photo by Andrea Altoe)

The bahay kubo-like library installation was built in the Philippines before being dismantled and shipped to Italy earlier this year for the historic showcase. It was recognized by La Biennale di Venezia for being “an exemplary community project that creates a rich archive and experience of collaborative construction practices.”

Constructing the installation (Photo by Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Don Patrick Claudio, Chris Yuhico)

“Thank you so much. We really want to thank the jury; the Biennale, Mr. Hashim–for really recognizing that bayanihan and dugnad can be real alternatives to how we can live together,” Alexander said. “The way we build is really the way we live. So this is really important to us.”

“We accept this award also on behalf of our collaborators, the GK Enchanted Farm community in Bulacan,” Sudarshan added. “We would like to thank our commissioner, the NCCA, DFA, and Congresswoman Legarda as well as the PAVB for supporting and trusting the vision for an alternative way we can live together. Mila sa puso, para sa bayan. Salamat.”

Architects and curators Sudarshan V. Khadka, Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes (Photo from La Biennale di Venezia

The international jury was composed of Kazuyo Sejima (Japan), head juror, and members Sandra Barclay (Peru), Lamia Joreige (Lebanon), Lesley Lokko (Ghana-Scotland), and Luca Molinari (Italy).

Apart from the Philippines, Russia was also bestowed with the same award. While this year’s Golden Lion award went to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Pavilion. Overall, there were 60 national participations in the 17th edition of Venice Architecture Biennale.

Check out this year’s winners here.