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La Biennale di Venezia

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Giardini della Biennale

30122 VENICE
TEL. +39 0415218711

The traditional site of the Biennale Arte Exhibitions since the first edition in 1895, the Giardini rise to the eastern edge of Venice and were made by Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was the success of the first editions (more than 200,000 visitors in 1895, more than 300,000 in 1899) to trigger the building of foreign pavilions since 1907, which were added to the already built Central Pavilion. The Giardini now host 29 pavilions of foreign countries, some of them designed by famous architects such as Josef Hoffmann's Austria Pavilion, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld's Dutch pavilion or the Finnish pavilion, a pre-fabricated with a trapezoidal plan designed by Alvar Aalto. The pavilions can be visited during the exhibitions period.


It was in 1894 that the first Palace of Exhibitions at Giardini was commissioned by the Venetian Municipal Council, to host the first Biennale the following year. The building - then called "Pro Arte" - was built on a project by Enrico Trevisanato and with a liberty facade designed by Marius De Maria and Bartolomeo Bezzi. Until 1905 La Biennale is all concentrated in this palace, where artists from each country exhibit together, without any division. In the wake of the success achieved in the first editions, La Biennale encourages foreign countries to build their own Pavilion at Giardini to expose their artists (the first is Belgium in 1907). Over the course of decades, the Central Palace underwent numerous additions and transformations, hosting works by Ernesto Basile (entrance 1905), Galileo Chini (decorations 1907-1909), Guido Cirilli (facade 1914), Gio Ponti (Rotonda 1928) , Becoming in 1932 the Italian Pavilion, with the design of the (still current) façade of Duilio Torres. In 1948 (and until 1972) bagan Carlo Scarpa's direct collaboration with La Biennale, which generated over the years a long series of remarkable projects and achievements. In 1968 Carlo Scarpa projects a loft in the central hall of the Pavilion, doubling the exhibition surface. Scarpa also signed the project of the Garden of Sculptures realized in 1952. In 1977 was inaugurated the Auditorium by Valeriano Pastor, destined for the Municipality, now transformed into a Library.

As part of the exhibition reorganization of La Biennale venues, in 2009 the historic Central Pavillion at Giardini became a multifunctional and versatile structure of 3,500 square meters, the center of permanent activity and landmark for the other Gardens Pavilions. It houses interior spaces designed by internationally renowned artists such as Massimo Bartolini (Educational Area "Sala F"), Rirkrit Tiravanija (Bookstore) and Tobias Rehberger (Cafeteria).

The transformation of the Central Pavilion into the Multifunctional Gardens was completed in 2011 with the reorganization of the exhibition spaces and entrance hall. From then on, the Central Pavilion can enjoy optimal space and microclimatic conditions for each of the different and numerous destinations, including educational activities, workshops and special projects. An important part of the recovery project consisted in the completion of the restoration of the Ottagonale Hall, initiated by the Venice City Council in 2006, with the restoration of the paintings inside the Galileo Chini dome in 1909 and the restoration of decorative wall and floor systems In the Venetian terrace. The Hall, equipped with all the services for the reception of the public, thus becomes a fulcrum of the Pavilion in the form of a monumental atrium from which all the new functional areas can be reached.


La Biennale Library since 2009 is an integral part of the Central Pavilion at Giardini. The restoration was completed in 2010 with the opening of the large reading room, surrounded by a two-level gallery on which over 800 meters of shelves are laid out. The reading room is also used for conferences and workshops. The Library specializes in contemporary art, with a special focus on documentation and deepening of the Foundation's activities, preserving all the catalogs of Biennale activities and collecting bibliographic material related to the disciplines of architecture, visual arts, cinema, Dance, photography, music, theater. Thanks to its book heritage of more than 151,000 volumes and 3,000 periodicals, it is one of the leading libraries of contemporary art in Italy.

The library's heritage, originated from the ASAC book archive, is constantly being developed and updated through purchases, donations and, above all, exchanges with the main institutions of production, research and preservation of contemporary, national and international arts. Since 2009, through the Book Pavilion, the Library also welcomes and acquires volumes donated by artists and architects participating in art exhibitions and architecture exhibitions. The books collected thanks to this project realized by the La Biennale Foundation are the result of constant collaboration with the directors of the art and architecture exhibition.

The Library joined the National Library Service (SBN) and is currently completing the catalog of the original fund. You can browse the online catalog, including catalogs of exhibitions, monographs, essays, repertoires and specialized periodicals, at https://polovea.sebina.it/SebinaOpac/.do.

A counting project is active in order to enhance the content about La Biennale topic present in the Italian and foreign periodicals. Thanks to the analytical description of the content, users can easily find the individual articles, thus deepening the search. The activity is carried out both in subscription magazines (about 200 titles) and in discontinued ones.


Designed by artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, the Giardini's library is a small, practical space with no redundant details and decorations. [...]


Designed by Tobias Rehberger and painted according to the particular pictorial style Razzle Dazzle (used especially on warships during World War I), the cafeteria is a place to sit down to find a bit of refreshment and where to let ourselves be (pleasantly) disoriented by weave geometric shapes of contrasting colors that interrupt and intersect, creating a complex and lively optical pattern.

A cafeteria-work of art, whose design for the creation of Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen awarded Rehberger a Golden Lion for the best artist at Biennale Arte 2009.


Alongside today's Central Pavilion, whose first nucleus was built in 1894 and since then expanded and restored several times, in the large park were built 29 pavilions, built at various times by exhibiting nations. Enclosed by the green surroundings of the park, the pavilions represent an anthology of high value in 20th century architecture, for the name of many executives, including Aalto, Hoffmann, Rietveld, Scarpa and Stirling.

This is the chronological order of construction (the author's name in brackets): 1907 Belgium (Léon Sneyens); 1909 Hungary (Géza Rintel Maróti); 1909 Germany (Daniele Donghi) demolished and rebuilt in 1938 (Ernst Haiger); 1909 Great Britain (Edwin Alfred Rickards); 1912 France (Umberto Bellotto); 1912 Netherlands (Gustav Ferdinand Boberg) demolished and rebuilt in 1953 (Gerrit Thomas Rietveld); 1914 Russia (Aleksej V. Scusev); 1922 Spain (Javier De Luque) with facade renovated in 1952 by Joaquin Vaquero Palacios; 1926 Czech Republic and Slovak Republic (Otakar Novotny); 1930 United States of America (Chester Holmes Aldrich and William Adams Delano); 1932 Denmark (Carl Brummer) expanded in 1958 by Peter Koch; 1932 Venice Pavilion (Brenno del Giudice), expanded in 1938; 1934 Austria (Josef Hoffmann); 1934 Greece (M. Papandreou - B. Del Giudice); 1952 Israel (Zeev Rechter); 1952 Switzerland (Bruno Giacometti); 1954 Venezuela (Carlo Scarpa); 1956 Japan (Takamasa Yoshizaka); 1956 Finland (Hall Alvar Aalto); 1958 Canada (BBPR Group, Gian Luigi Banfi, Ludovico Barbiano of Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti, Ernesto Nathan Rogers); 1960 Uruguay; 1962 Nordic Countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland (Sverre Fehn); 1964 Brazil (Amerigo Marchesin); 1987 Australia (Philip Cox), rebuilt in 2015 (J.Denton, B.Corker, B.Marshall); 1995 Korea (Seok Chul Kim and Franco Mancuso).


Opened in 1991, on the occasion of the 5th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the book pavilion, designed by James Stirling, is located in a space in front of the entrance to the gardens and consists of a long, one floor structure made of metal and glass, and functionally separated in two parts.

The shape of the Pavilion recalls a naval structure, overlapping in an unresolved duplicity the simple theme of the cabin. [...]

Giardini della Biennale

30122 VENICE
TEL. +39 0415218711

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