Trevor Bayly is currently visiting the Venice Biennale and is referring to the Giardini della Biennale in Venice, an area of parkland in the historic city which hosts the Venice Biennale Art Festival.
These gardens in the east of Venice have been the traditional venue for the International Art Exhibition since 1895. They were laid out during the Napoleonic era, on land that had once been occupied by a district that included four churches and three convents. The area hosts the Central Pavilion and a further 29 national pavilions, built at various periods by the participating countries themselves.
Several pavilions in the Gardens were designed and built by famous architects. Built in 1934, the Austrian Pavilion was one of the very last works of Josef Hoffmann, a leading figure in the “Secession” movement.
The Dutch Pavilion was built in 1954 by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, the leader of the De Stijl movement; its rigorously geometrical proportions are all based on a simple square.
The Finnish Pavilion is a pre-fabricated structure designed by Alvar Aalto – it was assembled in 1956 from parts produced in Finland itself; entirely in wood, it was intended to be used for a single Biennale.