Gareth Hoskins wins competition for Scotland's pavilion

Hoskins, Venice, Pavillion

Gareth Hoskins Architects have won the competition to design the so-called Gathering Space, the Scottish presence at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. Scotland’s first Venice Biennale pavilion ever will be situated in a major piazza during the first week of the Biennale.

Gareth Hoskins Architects’ vision, “the stairs as space”, offers both an indoor auditorium and an external gathering space. The installation will be constructed entirely from either sustainably sourced or reclaimed timber. On the outside a set of public stairs, with seating for up to 200 people, will be used both for organized events and informal gatherings. The stairs also form a roof which rises above the indoor auditorium, a space which is expected to seat 80-100 people. The design is based on an original idea by Elisa Yon,

Gareth Hoskins was inspired by the long tradition public stairs have as seating and informal gathering places, including the Spanish Steps in Rome and the entrance stairs at the Metropolitan Museum in New York: “These places are vital to the urban environment. If all the world is a stage, then the urban stair and the people who use them can be thought of as the audience.”

Over 50 practices entered the anonymous competition to create the space, which is set to be a hub for a series of debates, film screenings and events, including the keynote British Council debate. Scotland’s presence at the Biennale is being led by The Lighthouse, the Scottish National Architecture and Design Centre.

“The judges were impressed by the structure’s ability to act as a kind of stage; as a place both to see and be seen in Venice, while also providing a very unusual indoor space suitable for lectures, seminars and presentations” says Nick Barley, Executive Director of The Lighthouse.

They "were unanimous in their view that this structure, with its strikingly simple concept, its strong sense of drama and its ability to function effectively in several different ways, is the ideal choice to represent Scottish architecture on a world stage.”

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