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We are a bit behind with this as the event ended on Sunday, but we still wanted to recognise the island of Grenada’s achievement of having taken part in the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia for the first time in the island's history after three consecutive appearances at the Art Biennales in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

The theme for 2021 “how will we live together” encouraged architects to imagine spaces where people can generously live as a community and Grenada participated as an official National Pavilion. Entitled 'COethos', the exhibition presented the recently completed parliament building located at Mount Weldale, overlooking the capital of St. George’s, the Carenage and Grand Anse. It was curated by Marco Ballarin, Stefano Tornieri, and Massimo Triches of the Babau Bureau Collective and led by local architect Bryan Bullen, co-founder of the Caribbean Office of Co-Operative Architecture (COCOA).

The parliament building was completed in 2018 and features three main elements within a harmonious overall composition: the Chamber, the Peristyle, and the Rampart. The building was designed to be visually and physically permeable, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior spaces. The Rampart borrows its rusticated expression from the ruins of colonial forts found throughout the island. It provides the main public access between the different levels of the building, and its sloping fortified walls house the administrative operations. The curved, tiered public gallery within the Chamber evokes the nutmeg and is a visual reference to the emblematic spice for which the island is famous. The materials chosen for this section also pay homage to the handcrafted boat building traditions of Grenada’s sister isle Carriacou.

Movement between the outdoors and the indoor spaces comes through the use of landscaped and covered open-air areas which pass into the enclosed volume and make the best use of passive cooling and natural lighting at the venue. During the day, sunlight is tempered by the Peristyle and filters into the open-air spaces around the Chamber through perforated aluminum rainscreens. Care was taken to incorporate energy-efficient features such as double-glazed, low-E windows, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting, and multi-hazard engineering design.

Brian Bullen/Grenada Pavilion/Ministry of Culture, Grenada

The design of the pavilion in Venice included peristyle columns that mimicked those found at the parliament building and a video installation highlighting the building process and thoughts of the architect. Also on display were future plans to revitalise the waterfront of St. George’s by reinstating its connection to the community using public spaces. In support of the wider ideals of equity and inclusion and with the aim of reintroducing public life into the urban spaces of the capital city’s harbor, plans have been made for a promenade along the Carenage, the creation of an active zone of leisure and cultural activities, and the refurbishment of the National Library and the surrounding built environment which will become a new center of knowledge and innovation.

The Grenada Pavilion opened on May 22 and closed on November 21. 


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