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“The Kwaee” at Venice architecture biennale
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At the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, acclaimed British architect David Adjaye has unveiled a striking triangular pavilion crafted exclusively from timber. Positioned just outside of the Arsenale Central Pavilion, the eye-catching structure is aptly titled “The Kwaee” taking its name after the word “forest” in Twi, a dialect of the Akan language spoken by millions of people in southern and central Ghana.

The Kwaeeinstallation by David Adjaye embodies the essence of its namesake through its form and materiality. Crafted entirely from wood, this triangular prism structure incorporates two oculi, creating an interesting visual composition.

By seamlessly merging elements of doorways, platforms, assemblies, and windows, the installation forms a harmonious and unified entity. The deliberate distortion of the shape, thoughtfully angled and integrated with its surroundings, generates passages and openings that facilitate a continuous flow of movement and interaction. Moreover, the structure’s vertical black timber slabs produce a captivating interplay of light and shadow, enveloping the space with a serene forest-like atmosphere.

Located right outside of the historic Arsenale grounds at the Venice Biennale, the pavilion stands out as a captivating addition, showcasing the rich diversity of African and African diaspora practitioners. 

Its external triangular prism structure contrasts with an internally sculpted ovoid chamber reminiscent of a cave. This design allows visitors to gaze at the sky through the oculi while enjoying glimpses of the surrounding canal through the intricately crafted timber interstices. Not only does the installation provide a tranquil space for reflection and respite, but it also serves as a versatile venue for multiple events and gatherings, accommodating diverse needs and purposes.

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Via / Designboom

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