La Biennale di Venezia and the National Gallery of Canada
For the past 70 years, the Canada Biennale Pavilion in Venice, Italy, has showcased Canada’s most celebrated artists to the world.
Tucked between the pavilions of Great Britain and Germany, the unveiling of the Canadian Biennale Pavillion in 1958 was met with global acclaim for its advanced architecture. And from the beginning, consideration and incorporation of the iconic Venetian landscape was a design priority; two living bagolaro trees were included within the perimeter walls of the pavilion.
From 2016 to 2018, Gauthier & Associates Landscape Architecture (G|ALA) collaborated closely with The National Gallery, as well as Order of Canada medal winner, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, to renovate the Pavilion. It was unveiled at the XVI Architecture Biennale.
The $3-million CAD Canada Biennale Pavilion project was committed to conserving the heritage elements of the building and adjoining outdoor space.
G|ALA worked to renovate not just the pavilion grounds, but also the extensive pathway system that connects several pavilions, picnic and viewing areas, and cafes to each other throughout the historic Giardini di Castello.
This pathway system culminates in a cantilevered viewing platform located behind the Canada Pavilion. The elegant steel and wood deck structure, hidden amongst the trees, provides sublime views of the historic Venetian Laguna.
Of particular challenge, due to the site’s archaeological significance, the deck footings could not be in-ground. The deck was designed to sit out of of view from the waterway and its zigzag outline was needed to accommodate the site’s existing landscape.