Biennale Architettura 2018
status: competition proposal
team: Anca Cioarec, Brîndușa Tudor, Anca Verona Mihuleț

The project Metabucătăria / The Metakitchen responds in a direct and faithful way to the general concept of the 16th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, but also to the local architectural context – the project proposes above all a meeting space for architects, public and specialists, a think tank where ideas could be debated, manifestos could be written, new initiatives could be conceived, all having generosity as a basic principle.

In the current cultural logic, axial globalization, transculturality, interdisciplinarity, and the new institutionalism imposed another approach to representativeness.The general theme of the Biennale Architettura 2018 meets those demands of the contemporary thinkers, who nowadays, more than ever, need to act as responsible cultural agents. Curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara define under the title "Freespace" a progressive vision on the way we relate to the architecture that surrounds us – they talk about the capacity of small spaces to communicate emotions and history, they propose the reactivation of memory while confronted with forgotten places, they support free movement and reflection, and above all, they bring architecture into question as a positive and participatory organization formula.
The nodal point from which the reflection inside the Pavilion started is a form of folk architecture called “merindar in the Romanian language and “the food house” in free English translation. “Merindar” / “the food house” is an object found in Romanian rural areas, placed on the property limit, which houses the potentiality of a dialogue between the inside and the outside. It is born of the same flesh with the limit, it is an extension of it, a derivation. In the first instance, the confluence separates and then proposes moments of crossing or dialogue. Alongside gates, windows and thresholds, “merindar” is a perforation of the dividing line – a very well-defined, explicit, probably the most generous and simple of them.

It is a microarchitecture object meant to house a gift, like a miniature home, a house of food and water for passers-bys. It proposes the start of the exchange in absence, takes the place of the host, announces the generosity of living from beyond the limit.

The Romanian Pavilion in the Giardini de la Biennale is on the property's limit, it is a fence-house, a thick, inhabited limit. In addition, it has a privileged access, from inside the garden, as well as a secondary one, compact, directly from the street.

We will consider at first instance a necessary gesture to open the Pavilion to both the garden and the street, proposing a new boundary between the two worlds, and having the role of bringing people together in a process of exchange.

We propose building a limit-circle, a limit-table. It will be placed at an equal distance to the two access ways, gathering around it visitors from both outer spaces. It will be tangent to the Pavilion so that it retains its limit-space character, but it will also be a limit permanently inhabited by a team of chef-architects who will be in turn hosts, dialogue partners and production assistants for visitors.

The repository of the host group is therefore the circle-table, which will serve as the central point of the presentation, with four points of water, four points of fire and a large number of drawers for utensils. It can also be described as a kitchen-workshop, an object between the inside and outside, respectively between architects and visitors.

The purpose of the meeting between the host group and the visitors is the debate on the generosity of the built space. The method will be typical for a design workshop, and the subject will be imagining and representing a contemporary “merindar” through dialogue, followed by conventional drawing and layout representation.

The results of the workshops will be displayed on the Pavilion walls throughout the period of the exhibition. In addition, the activity of the workshops will be documented through photography and video, and a synthesis of what happened in the Pavilion will permanently run on a screen mounted in each of the two separate work spaces.