Dezeen Magazine

Singapore Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale

Visitors' experiences of cities to be plotted on moving calligraphic scrolls at Singapore's Venice pavilion

Moving calligraphic scrolls will continually plot the response of visitors to a series of questions about architecture's intangible qualities at the Singapore's Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion, which is unveiled exclusively here.

Named When is Enough, Enough? The Performance of Measurement, the pavilion was designed by curators Melvin Tan, Adrian Lai and Wong Ker How and seeks to demonstrate how traditional architectural standards of quantity and measurement are insufficient for assessing the lived experience of our cities.

Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
The Values Measurement Machine sits at the centre of the Singapore Pavilion

The project responds to the theme of this year's The Laboratory of the Future, which was set by curator Lesley Lokko, who asked participants to consider what it means for architects to be "agents of change".

At the pavilion's centre is a metal-framed Values Measurement Machine, an analogue plotter that will record visitor's responses to questions on more intangible urban qualities such as agency, freedom, and inclusion on five-metre-tall calligraphic scrolls.

Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
The machine will plot the responses of visitors to a series questions

For the team, these questions reflect an urgency to better unify architectural standards with the actual needs of the communities in which architects work, with a view to redefining "innovation in design."

"Visitors are invited to respond to six questions that surface the intangible elements of the city and reflect on the qualities that can transform the urban landscape beyond a human-oriented city to a worldly, lovable one," explained the team.

"Navigating through a spectrum of artistic renders, visitors will pinpoint the critical balance of qualities to evoke their desired habitat, weighing up their preferences and registering these values at the pavilion," it continued.

Surrounding the Values Measurement Machine, the edges of the pavilion display the work of a series of architects and researchers whose practices deal with issues from dementia and neurodiversity to rewilding and biomimicry.

Combined with 41 additional questions for visitors to consider, the projects on display seek to prompt a consideration of how we might better assess what constitutes and inclusive and equitable environment.

Scrolling machine at Venice
It aims to draw attention to architecture's intangible qualities

"[The machine] will collate emprical data, offering a snapshot of how intangible qualilies turned into data can help increase appreciation of creating inclusive standards from the ground up," said the team.

"At the same time, the pavilion experience is a call to action for visitors to reflect on how much is enough to achieve the outcomes they envision for their cities," it continued.

Questions about architecture
The installation includes other questions for visitors to consider

The Singapore Pavilion is one of several that will be opened exclusively on Dezeen during the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023. Other pavilions that were seen first on Dezeen include the Danish pavilion, which focuses on rising Sea levels, the US pavilion that aims to question plastic dependency and this year's Finnish pavilion that "declares the death of the flushing toilet".

Dezeen is live reporting from the Venice Architecture Biennale, which takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.