Ever since its participation in Metavilla (The french pavilion for the 10th Architecture Biennale by EXYZT in 2006) Constructlab has had experience with both the Biennale and local Venetian activists. Different experiences with activating public space in Venice and beyond resulted in an invitation by the German Pavilion. Constructlab was asked to develop a participatory project involving the local population that centers topics of neighbourhood care, repair, and maintenance.Assemblea delle Casette functioned as a prototype for Maintenance 1:1, the workshop program of the German Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
In Casette, a neighborhood on the island of Giudecca shaped by the local squatters’ community, Constructlab worked in tandem with the welfare-oriented Assemblea Sociale per la Casa (ASC) and local residents to upgrade existing community infrastructure, including a gazebo, an information board, outdoor furniture and multiple printed protest signs that can be hung out on the laundry lines. This basic infrastructure was complemented with mobile carrelli (carts) that can function as a kitchen, a silkscreen printing station or workshop. The objective was to act in solidarity with the community, leaving something that will outlast the Venice Architecture Biennale and be useful in the struggle for the right to the city and the right to housing.
As the German Pavilion’s opening event an inclusive neighbourhood party was organised at Casette. This “sagra” questioned the traditional glamorous Biennale opening parties. Everyone was invited, no registration required. The event replaced the traditional exclusive Biennale opening party and brought together local residents, activists, and guests of the Pavilion.
In collaboration with the Associazione Culturale Officina Marghera an onsite mobile screen printing workshop was developed . During the neighbourhood festival vistors could print T-shirts and posters. In the future this infrastructure will support the local activist community, different manifestations and all other forms of protest. The printing workshop was funded by the Hans-Sauer Stiftung.