Amateur Architecture Studio: Decay of a Dome

The only Chinese firm participating in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale
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Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

1 / 5 Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

2 / 5 Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

3 / 5 Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

4 / 5 Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

5 / 5 Amateur Architecture Studio, Decay of a Dome (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy


Amateur Architecture Studio’s dome is constructed entirely of rough wood sticks and metal hook-and-eye connections. As the architects note, the structure requires no base and can be built anywhere in one day by twenty people; it can be taken apart just as easily, leaving no trace of its presence behind. It is made from only one element that, repeated, forms a domed shape almost of its own accord. Decay of a Dome was built first in China, and the changes during and after construction there were noted and used to plan the installation in Venice.

Many of Amateur Architecture Studio’s projects use recycled or reused materials, which is both a genuinely ecological gesture and also, in the quickly changing environment of China, an unusual attempt to hold on to a rapidly disappearing past. In this moment where many Western architects are hungrily eyeing China as a new frontier for architecture, Amateur Architecture Studio, the only Chinese firm participating in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale, have proposed their own kind of frontier architecture – cheap, easy to construct and made to move – but one with a rough beauty and a real sensitivity to the conditions under which architecture is made today.

More of Amateur Architecture Studio’s work is featured in Phaidon’s 10x10_3 and The Atlas of 21st Century Architecture.

 

By Sara Goldsmith
Project Editor, Architecture & Design, Phaidon


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