The first foreign pavilion was that of Belgium built in 1907 under the initiative of Prof. Fierens-Gevaert, the Belgian general director of Fine arts. The project for the building and interior decoration was carried out by the architect Léon Sneyers. In 1930 two rooms were added to either side of the central hall, and in 1948 the Venetian architect Virgilio Vallot designed the new façade.
Three new pavilions were built for the eighth Biennale of 1909. The British Pavilion was not entirely built from scratch, instead the architect Edwin Alfred Rickards modernised an existing building, its interior decoration carried out by Frank Brangwyn.
The German pavilion, designed by Daniele Donghi, an architect of the Venice City Council, was built next to the British Pavilion. The pavilion initially hosted Bavarian art, and from 1912, works from all over Germany. Closed during the war, it reopened in 1922 exhibiting works from the then Federal Republic of the German Reich. Property of the Venice City Council, in 1938 it was taken over by the German goverment, and rebuilt under Hitler's order substituted by a more modern design by Ernst Haiger.
The architect and sculptor Géza Maróti, inspired by the tradition of Hungarian history and art designed the Hungarian Pavilion in 1909. The mosaics were realised by Miksa Roth, based on drawings by A. Korosfoi. At the Biennale of 1948, an exhibition was set up elsewhere to allow for the restoration of the damaged pavilion, but continued delays meant that it remained closed until 1958, when Agost Benkhard partially reconstructed it.
The French and Swedish pavilions were built in 1912, both designed and constructed by the Biennale. The French pavilion was inaugurated with a personal exhibition of Rodin's work. In 1914, the Swedish Pavilion was handed over to the Netherlands. In 1954 the Dutch pavilion was demolished and reconstructed on the same site, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, one of the architects belonging to the De Stijl movement.
The Russian pavilion was built by Aleksej V. Scusev in 1914.
The Giardini area currently hosts 29 pavilions. Countries not owning a pavilion in the Giardini are exhibited in other venues across Venice.