The Restroom Pavilion / Your Restroom is a Battleground
17th Venice Architecture Biennale, "How Will We Live Together?"
May 22–November 21, 2021
(Preview: May 19–2)
Three projects will display the central role of restrooms in response to the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale's topic "How Will We Live Together?"
The Restroom Pavilion
By Matilde Cassani, Ignacio G. Galán, Iván L. Munuera
Location: Giardini della Biennale
When we enter the restroom, we are never alone. Instead, we are entangled in a network of bodies, infrastructures, ecosystems, cultural norms, and regulations. In the Restroom Pavilion, some nodes within these networks are explored as they specifically materialize within Venice—a city that reveals itself as a constellation of mutually dependent environments and distinct geographies. In the Pavilion, a number of flags celebrate these networks in lieu of typical bathroom signage. Inside, a new materialization takes the place of the tiling that typically sustains modern and contemporary ideals of hygiene in the architecture of restrooms. If these ideals have typically operated through the creation of increasingly isolating and discriminatory practices, the Restroom Pavilion provides an inclusive description of the realities within which restrooms exist. In the restroom, we always live together.
In collaboration with Leonardo Gatti, Pablo Saiz del Rio, Paula Vilaplana de Miguel
Your Restroom is a Battleground
A research station by Matilde Cassani, Ignacio G. Galán, Iván L. Munuera, Joel Sanders
Location: Corderie dell’Arsenale
Restrooms are often described as neutral facilities or mere utilitarian infrastructures catering to the universal needs of individuals. But they are contested spaces that are shaped by and in turn shape the ways bodies and communities come together. Restrooms are architectures where gender, religion, race, ability, hygiene, health, environmental concerns, and the economy are defined culturally and articulated materially. In the last years, the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and growing tensions derived from population displacements have made these entanglements more evident. Restrooms are not an isolated design problem but rather symptoms of larger disputes that can be mediated through architectural tools. Your Restroom is a Battleground presents a selection of seven case studies as an installation at the Arsenale. The case studies are presented through dioramas that represent a variety of restroom battles around the world and illustrate how these debates take shape and reflect local and global social concerns and agendas. Restrooms are political architectures, they are battlegrounds.
In collaboration with Seb Choe, Leonardo Gatti, Vanessa Gonzalez, Marco Li, Jorge Lopez Conde, Maria Chiara Pastore, Pablo Saiz del Rio, Paula Vilaplana de Miguel
A contribution by Matilde Cassani, Ignacio G. Galán, Iván L. Munuera, Paula Vilaplana de Miguel for Future Assembly
Location: Central Pavilion at the Giardini della Biennale
While 20 million human-tourists visit Venice every year, other non-human species travel along. This is the case of the Undaria Pinnatifida, an alga native to Japan, which has been documented in the lagoon since the mid-1990s. Introduced by cruise ships, the presence of this algae has been favored by the waves provoked by ships, which trigger its reproduction and have led to a massive colonization process. Currently competing with indigenous species, this alga might clog the sewage system of local restrooms and threaten their operations. Far from reinforcing the dichotomy between indigenous and non-native, with its subsequent ideological implications, the Undaria Pinnatifida helps understand how human and non-human agents are not discrete and autonomous beings with zipped-up embodiments, but are always interdependent and interconnected: they participate in interspecies re-compositions that are constantly in search of new ways of coexistence.
Curated by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann, Studio Other Spaces (SOS) in collaboration with Caroline Jones, Hadeel Ibrahim, Kumi Naidoo, Mariana Mazzucato, Mary Robinson, and Paola Antonelli
The 17th Venice Architecture Biennale "How Will We Live Together?" is curated by Hashim Sarkis
Elise Jaffe +Jeffrey Brown, Barnard College of Columbia University, Princeton University School of Architecture, Yale University, AC/E (Acción Cultural Española)