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The Swamp Pavilion - at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia

MAY 2018

Pavilion of Lithuania at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

The Swamp School

Il Giardino Bianco Art Space

Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1814, Venice, Italy

Opening Hours: Tuesday  - Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM 

Official opening on May 25th 4pm.


Learning from The Swamp


At the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia Lithuania presents its first individual pavilion entitled The Swamp School. The project is curated by artists Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, commissioned by Pippo Ciorra, presented by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and produced by Architektūros Fondas.


In a world marked by political instability and threatened by wars and climate change, the Swamp School responds to Freespace by highlighting the vital urgency of human cohabitation with other forms of life. Reproducing the hybrid and inclusive environment of wetlands, the Pavilion of Lithuania will function as a learning lab to sense and discuss alternative models of coexistence between human and nature.


Suspended between air, land and water, the swamp is a liminal space inhabited by an incredibly vital ecosystem of rare animals and greenery. Resistant to human interference and surrounding threats, the swamp gives the opportunity to explore the idea of sympoiesis – making and becoming together – as an alternative paradigm for the future. 


Using a network of drainage pipes, curators will turn Il Giardino Bianco Art Space into a pedagogical laboratory where visitors will gradually immerse into the swamp environment. The multi-sensory experience will offer a journey through the sounds, the smells and the natural processes of wetlands, culminating in an outdoor space where a patch of Lithuanian swamp will be temporarily reinstalled.


Throughout Biennale Architettura 2018, The Swamp School will act as an ever-changing and open-ended platform for experimentation and research on the future of living. An interdisciplinary group of tutors with students from all over the world will shape installations and workshops in both the pavilion and Venice, turning the whole city into a learning environment.


Commissioner Pippo Ciorra said: “The swamp is a very good metaphor for the contemporary condition of both architecture and inhabited space. Today architecture is suspended between nature and artefact, ecology and politics, while space is bouncing back and forth between material and immaterial. Just like the swamp, which is at the same time water and land – just like Venice – borderless and in motion, a resource and a danger.” 



Curators Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas said: “Given that every construction starts from land reclamation. Today, swamps seem to be the opposite of architecture. Made evident by global environmental disasters, wetlands are physically pushing back on our attempts to industrialize and control them. Instead of fighting our watery neighbors, we must embrace them as a place for future co-habitation. Indeed, swamp turns out to be a perfect milieu, the place, to learn, to understand, and to hear other species, forces and ecosystems that have been silenced and downgraded by us. Let’s try to envision: how could swamps benefit architecture?” 



It will open on Friday 25th May at 4:00 pm with the Audible Lansdscapes by Jana Winderen, from 9:30 pm to 22:30 – Performance by Francisco Lopez. 



Follow the news of the Swamp School on social media: 

#TheSwampSchool #PavilionofLithuania #TheSwampPavilion 


Twitter: @SwampPavilion

Instagram: @swamppavilion

Facebook:  TheSwampPavilion 



Press Office contacts:

Giedre Sileikyte, Press Officer


phone: 00370 6879 4230



The Swamp School

Pavilion of Lithuania

16th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, 2018

Venue: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1814, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy.



Curators: Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas

Commissioner: Pippo Ciorra

Producer: Sandra Šlepikaitė, Architektūros fondas 

Assistant Curators: Jautra Bernotaitė, Andrius Ropolas, Kristupas Sabolius, Indrė Umbrasaitė, Paulius Vaitiekūnas

Project Ambassador Julija Reklaitė

Project Manager: Mindaugas Reklaitis

Production Coordinators: Adelė Dovydavičiūtė, Indrė Ruseckaitė, Alessandro Zorzetto

Editors: Jonathan Crisman, Mariel Villeré

Graphic Design: NODE Berlin/Oslo and Anna Haas

Communication: AUTORIAI (Giedrė Šileikytė) and Marta Atzeni

Presented by: The Lithuanian Council for Culture


Partners: MIT School of Architecture and Planning; Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp; Antwerp University; Università Iuav di Venezia; NABA Milan; Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel; University of Iceland; Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas; a.pass Brussels; Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Städelschule Architecture Class – Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Frankfurt, HFBK University of Fine Arts Hamburg, Contour Biennial 9 Mechelen


With the support of: MIT School of Architecture and Planning; MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology; MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; The Nordic Culture Fund; Office for Contemporary Art Norway, UAB Durpeta.