© Jan Bitter

The installation by Sauerbruch Hutton at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, FREESPACE, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, is a small space enclosed by a timber framework placed amongst the monumental structure of the Corderie. While its lower part is opaque, its upper section, where a pattern of coloured weaves counters the strict geometry of the frame, radiates a seductive glow. Inside, the colour treatment seems to explode the physical confines and large black and white photographs below similarly appear to expand the space. The installation condenses the architectural themes of Sauerbruch Hutton’s M9 Museum District in Venice Mestre.

Adding contemporary interventions to the palimpsest of Mestre’s centre, M9 offers a new type of curated public domain that inspires synergies between cultural, social and commercial activities. Primarily defined by volumetric composition, the spaces of M9 are informed through their material and chromatic presence, actively engaging the visitor in a play between visual perception and haptic reality.

For M9 freespace is a liminal zone between the public and the private spheres that offers itself for occupation. Sauerbruch Hutton’s architecture provides amenity and specific atmospheres. Liberating in intent, it still never betrays the fundamentally limiting act of construction. Thus the oxymoron of freespace catches an essential condition of their architectural practice.

© Jan Bitter
© Jan Bitter

related essay

Louisa Hutton

© Jan Bitter


  • spatial intervention


  • 2018

project team