The Slovenia Times

Slovenia highlights ecology at Venice architecture expo

Slovenia's pavilion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Slovenia's pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition, which opened on 20 May and runs until late November, is dedicated to the principles of ecology in architecture which have been lost in the face of advancing technology.

In the past, ecology was a part of architecture, but architects later started using technical and engineering solutions, such as heat pumps, heat recuperation and zero-energy house technologies.

This meant that they no longer apply the principles of ecology to their designs and architectural concepts, architect Eva Gusel said at the official pavilion opening earlier this week.

"Our pavilion explores how we can once again respond to ecological issues through the architectural concept, the actual construction process, through room design," said Gusel.

She is a member of a team of architects from two firms who designed the pavilion: Maša Mertelj, Matic Vrabič and Gusel are the team of Mertelj Vrabič Arhitekti, and Anja Vidic and Jure Grohar are Vidic Grohar Arhitekti.

In their concept for the pavilion, the team looked to the past and vernacular architecture used throughout centuries. Maja Vardjan, the commissioner of the Slovenian presentation, said this was not about nostalgia but rather about tapping old knowledge.

Fifty architectural teams from across Europe were invited to join the project by highlighting an example of vernacular architecture applying an energy principle. Five submissions are exhibited in the Slovenian pavilion at the Arsenale.

Two of the examples are from Slovenia: a rustic tiled stove, which is used for heating, cooking and drying of produce, and a room within a room, a concept employed in shepherds' huts at the Velika Planina plateau, where the temperature gradient moves from the smaller space to the larger one, a principle lost to central heating.

The third example comes from Poland and shows the principle of making a space smaller to make it more energy efficient. The pavilion also features a cocoon as a space for sleeping: its small size allows for a different organisation of the remaining rooms.

The fifth example presents the idea of a buffer zone, an expanded facade that protects the house from external impact.

The pavilion itself has been made of sheep wool felt, linden wood and bricks.

Entitled +/- 1 °C: In Search of Well-Tempered Architecture, the display also features an exhibition of photographs by Klemen Ilovar.


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