Very different from other countries’ pavilions, Poland at the same time has raised very important issues. Pavilion consisted of metal scaffolds and screens placed between them, where different videos from construction sites were running. The composition created by scaffolds occupied the entire room. Videos conveyed the hard life of construction workers, events taking place there and everyday risks they have to confront. In the videos people working there (on the construction) talk about difficulties, the rout they take daily on the construction, the risks related to working on a high building, laying a foundation, incrustation the columns, paving the floor, etc.
In the second space of the pavilion there are human figures on the wall. The graph shows the construction process from the beginning to the end.
The focus is on such important facts, as employment of immigrants on constructions and other issues related to them, unpaid overtimes, unsafe working environment, etc.
This subject raised by Poland isn’t strange for Georgia either. It hasn’t been a month since two workers died on a different buildings and in addition the situation on construction sites have long been out of control in our country. State can’t protect workers’ rights, not speaking about their qualification and professional development.
In Georgia, like in other average and under developed countries, working on construction is related to some vital risks. Poland, focusing on this subject, once again makes us think, when will be governments concerned with these issues, because people no longer have to risk their lives for architecture, protective mechanisms should be available for all countries, and in general, serious attention should be paid to this topic.
Ultimately architecture is created for people and as the main phrase in Uruguay Pavilion says: “We will understand what architecture is when our lives depend on it”.
In the curators statement we read:
The Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2016 directly responds to this year’s theme – Reporting from the Front – by addressing the ethical issues facing one of the most underrepresented participants in architecture: the construction worker. Labour conditions, lack of respect and site accidents plague the industry worldwide but these difficulties often get overlooked in favour of deadlines, budgets and the public demand for new spaces. Curator Dominika Janicka, in cooperation with Martyna Janicka and Michał Gdak, create a full-scale construction site inside the Polish Pavilion and ask the question – why don’t buildings come with fair trade marks?
The curators behind the exhibition Fair Building believe that construction sites represent the frontline in architecture; it is the physical manifestation of any live project and despite technological advancements is still led largely by manual labour. The contribution from these workers is missing from architectural discourse and construction processes remain unpredictable. In a consumer-driven culture we can be more concerned with the standards involved in making chocolate bars than the buildings and spaces that frame contemporary society. This exhibition will focus on the ethical issues surrounding the construction industry and the views of those directly involved.
The pavilion within the Giardini is divided up into two parts. The main section is made up of a module scaffolding installation that forms a direct physical connection to the building site. Documentary videos are screened simultaneously, featuring stories about construction workers, each focusing on a key angle to the industry’s work conditions and construction works characteristics. The other part of the exhibition, resembling an investor’s showroom apartment, explores the industry in numbers with the use of info-graphics and an animated promotional video.
Exhibition curator Dominika Janicka says: “By presenting the stories of persons directly involved in the building process, we ask whether ‘fair trade’ is achievable in the field. If so, what would it be? Is ‘fair building’ possible? We don’t focus on looking for culprits responsible for the abuses occurring at the various stages of the construction process. Rather, we create a space to reflect on how to make this process not only effective but also fair.”
Rather than presenting finished projects or proposals, the exhibition curators hope to kick start a much-needed debate on a largely ignored sector of the industry, with the aim to engage architects, engineers, developers and consumers alike.
Curator: Dominika Janicka
Curatorial collaboration: Martyna Janicka and Michał Gdak
Polish Pavilion Commissioner: Hanna Wróblewska
Deputy Commissioner: Joanna Waśko
Author: Meri Khamkhadze