Newly restored Canada Pavilion unveiled at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition
After six decades presenting some of the country’s most celebrated artists and architects, the Canada Pavilion in Venice, Italy has undergone a major, $3-million restoration. The designated heritage building is an important architectural landmark in the Giardini di Castello, the traditional site of the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia. Restored to its original 1957 design with functional upgrades, the renewed Pavilion will be officially unveiled on May 26, 2018 at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.
To celebrate this significant achievement, the Pavilion will feature, until November 2018, the exhibition Canada Builds/Rebuilds a Pavilion. It offers an unprecedented analysis of the context in which one of Italy’s most important architectural firms of the post-war era — Milanese architectural studio BBPR — was commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada to design and build Canada’s pavilion. Organized by the Gallery and under the curatorial direction of Réjean Legault, Associate Professor at the École de design of the Université du Québec à Montréal and former head of the Study Centre at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the exhibition forms part of a larger endeavour by the Gallery that includes a forthcoming publication, and a series of short films in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), this series of short films features interviews with key Canadian and Italian contributors to the restoration project.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
Alberico Barbiano di Belgiojoso
Architect, Studio Belgiojoso
Paolo Baratta, President, La Biennale di Venezia
Emanuela Carpani, Venice Superintendent for Architectural Heritage
Marc Mayer, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada
Pavilion Patron, Art Historian
Karen Colby-Stothart, CEO, National Gallery of Canada Foundation
Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art
Tucked between the pavilions of Great Britain and Germany, the Canada Pavilion embraces its wooded site. The building fully integrates two large living trees within its perimeter walls. Shaped in plan like a nautilus shell, the building spirals out from a tapered octagonal column at its centre that supports the dramatic beams of its roof structure. When the Pavilion was unveiled in June 1958, it was described as a “small jewel of a showcase.”
Prompted by the building’s precarious state of disrepair and functional limitations, a project for the rehabilitation of the Canada Pavilion was initiated in 2014. Originally designed by Enrico Peressutti of the renowned Milanese architectural studio BBPR (Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressutti, Rogers) in 1956, the Canada Pavilion was completely restored by architect Alberico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, heir to the BBPR studio, working in close cooperation with Venice-based architect Troels Bruun of M+B Studio. The surrounding landscape has been revitalized by la Biennale di Venezia in collaboration with acclaimed Canadian landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and Bryce Gauthier of Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects. Learn more
The four-year restoration was led by the National Gallery of Canada with the support of La Biennale di Venezia and the Venice Superintendent for Architectural Heritage, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Global Affairs Canada with the exceptional collaboration of the Canadian Embassy in Rome. Learn more
In the spring of 1958, director Colin Low and a team from the National Film Board of Canada filmed a documentary in Venice: City out of Time. Watch excerpts from the film, which feature images of the Canada Pavilion when it was newly constructed.