A Roof for Silence - Fouad Elkoury, Olivier de Bchaaleh 16, 2019 © Fouad Elkoury

In the context of the Lebanese Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Hala Wardé, the architect and founder of HW Architecture, who realised the Louvre Abu Dhabi with Jean Nouvel, presents A Roof for Silence at the Magazzino del Sale (Zattere), from May 22nd to November 21st, 2021.

Echoing the question How will we live together? as raised by Hashim Sarkis, curator of this 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Hala Wardé tackles the issue of coexistence through a questioning of the spaces of silence, and by putting into dialogue architecture, painting, music, poetry, video and photography.

Hala Wardé Portrait © HW architecture
Hala Wardé Portrait © HW architecture

“Why not think about places in relation to their potential as voids rather than as solids? How can we fight fear of emptiness in architecture? How can we imagine forms that generate places of silence and contemplation?” ~ Hala Wardé

The Lebanese Pavilion is conceived as a musical score, resonating disciplines, shapes and periods to provoke the sensory experience of a thought, articulated around the notions of emptiness and silence, as temporal and spatial conditions of architecture. A “Revelationary” installation as per Paul Virilio’s definition, in tribute to the renowned thinker and urbanist.

A Roof for Silence - Paul Virilio, Tableaux Antiformes, Sans titre, 1962 Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI
A Roof for Silence – Paul Virilio, Tableaux Antiformes, Sans titre, 1962 Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI

Treated as a manifesto for a new form of architecture, Hala Wardé’s project is based on the cryptic shapes of a group of sixteen olive trees that are a thousand years old in Lebanon. These legendary trees, whose hollowed forms are home to various species, are the tutelary figure of the Lebanese Pavilion. They are places of recollection or gathering, where peasants have convened for generations to decide on village affairs or to celebrate weddings.

A Roof for Silence, Installation © HW architecture
A Roof for Silence, Installation © HW architecture

A Roof for Silence, which will be unveiled for the first time at the Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice, will continue its cultural itinerary in different cities around the world. As a first step, it will be the subject of a temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Beirut, during the inauguration of its new wing built by the Fondation Nationale du Patrimoine for the promotion of architectural and artistic heritage. It will then be presented at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

A Roof for Silence, Perspectives 01 & 02 © HW architecture

The project has a social and heritage dimension. Initiatives and mobilisation campaigns will be organised within the context of the Biennale to raise awareness among the public and the international community of experts and architects about the rehabilitation of the damaged architectural and cultural heritage of the city of Beirut.

A Roof for Silence - Etel Adnan, Olivéa : Hommage à la Déesse de l'Olivier, 2018 © Etel Adnan
A Roof for Silence – Etel Adnan, Olivéa : Hommage à la Déesse de l’Olivier, 2018 © Etel Adnan

The Lebanese Pavilion will thus offer its platform to the Beirut Heritage Initiative, an independent and inclusive collective created after the Beirut blast of the 4th of August 2020, to restore the built and cultural heritage of the city.


This information is extracted from the press release.

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