17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

"Grancey-le-Château, un monde à la lisière". Le Consortium-Land avec les architectes Patrick Berger, Aristide Antonas et Junya Ishigami. 17e exposition internationale d'architecture. Biennale di Venezia 2021. Photo : Felix Gautherot


Le Consortium-Land — Le Consortium Museum’s department for research and experimentation/architecture, social issues and environment — is invited by curator Hashim Sarkis to How Will We Live Together? the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, from May 22 to November 21, 2021.

It will present Grancey-le-Château, A World at the Edge / Patrick Berger's Birds' Pavilion, an original installation conceived as the preview for an ever-evolving ethological architectural site that is the only one of its kind in the world. It was initiated in 2018 by Le Consortium-Land in the town of Grancey-le-Château (Côte-d’Or, Burgundy, France).
Instigated by Patrick Berger’s impetus and in conjunction with the Nouveaux commanditaires (New Patrons) program established by the Fondation de France, alongside the residents of Grancey-le-Château, Le Consortium-Land has invited Aristide Antonas (Greece) and Junya Ishigami (Japan) to imagine architectural constructions based on the relationship between humans and animals, considered from various angles.
At the core of the development of the Grancey-le-Château site is an ethological direction, ethology being the scientific discipline that studies the behavior of species, including the human species. This experimental model proposes to define in the long-term future housing projects for differentiated, peripheral territories and geographies, whether in France or elsewhere.
In 2021, Patrick Berger’s Birds’ Pavilion, is the first permanent construction on site in Grancey-le-Château, in parallel with the public presentation of its duplicate at the Biennale Architettura in Venice.


The Birds’ Pavilion: Living Together In A World At The Edge

In Grancey-le-Château, Patrick Berger together with Le Consortium-Land has imagined the first constructions intended exclusively for the use of animals. The Birds’s Pavilion as presented in Venice is the alter ego of the prior structure built onsite, which predetermined later invitations to build on the same plot. With this installation dedicated to birds, Le Consortium-Land is sending a visible signal of the overall project in Grancey-le-Château.
From May 2021 onward at the Biennale Architettura 2021, The Birds’ Pavilion’s double will be accompanied with a short movie offering a perspective on the genesis and philosophy of the Grancey-le-Château ethological site, with Vincianne Despret, science philosopher.

"The Pavilion could be a mythical bird’s dwelling, since its construction is conceived like animal architecture. Its fabrication assembles a metal structure with tree branches that have been cut nearby. The dimensions of its branches are at a child’s scale. Trees surround the volume of the pavilion, their foliage nearly touching it. The public can enter through two narrow openings facing each other on opposite sides of the pavilion, while other, actual birds, can burst in here and there to build their own nests. Originally conceived for Collodi in Italy, this pavilion will be produced in Grancey-le-Château in Côte-d’Or. It will kick off other events about art and cultural relations between human and animal worlds. It will be an exploration of the “edges” between anthropology and ethology."
— Patrick Berger, architect, The Birds’ Pavilion.

"Some thinkers say there is a true cultural co-evolution between certain kinds of birds and we human beings, that is to say birds wish to live with us but not very near to us. Moreover, these birds make sure that this distance always stays the same. Finally, what is notable is that many animals sometimes wish to live very near to humans, in the same environment as it brings them obvious benefits, but only on condition a certain distance be respected, if only because we are dangerous to them, or that they do not feel safe when we are too close, and that the issue of zoonoses comes up when the distance is reduced. Thus, the question is how to appreciate the proper distance. It is really on a case-by-case basis, with a species on the one hand, but also with certain individual [animals] from a given species. […] For many animals, the right distance is the one that allows for possible flight."
— Vinciane Despret, science philosopher. Excerpt from Grancey, A Film, 2021. 


Humans and animals, building a more proximate relationship with Aristide Antonas, Patrick Berger and Junya Ishigami

Grancey-le-Château is a town with a population of 300, located in the north of the Côte d’Or administrative jurisdiction (in Burgundy), on the eastern side of theLangres plateau. 
In 2018, Le Consortium-Land invited architects Aristide Antonas, Patrick Berger and Junya Ishigami to reflect on what is to be learned from animal architecture and from the coexistence between humans and animals. Grancey-le-Château is one of the first constantly evolving ethological architecture sites in France.

The original ethological and architectural project in Grancey-le-Château was born from the following observation: architecture can be the vehicle for a symbiosis between species. The guest architects conceived their habitation projects as intermediate between human and animal architecture, whether by building for animal use or by tapping into the lessons learned from animal architecture to benefit an equal relationship between species.
The study of animal behaviors, inasmuch as they provide teachings for our own uses, was the building block for the site’s DNA. The plot is a flat, forested area that through a succession of drops and inclines and former cultivated terraces drops down to the road below. Vegetable and animal species have reclaimed an area previously disputed by humans. The site thus delineates an area on the immediate edge of the village, where human, vegetable and animal stratification characterizes a complex environment.

Le Consortium has for many years developed contemporary art public commissions in Burgundy, spurred by elected officials and ordinary citizens alike.
It has acquired a plot of land in Grancey-le-Château to research and produce projects where architecture and ethology find a logical certainty. This is a historical and lasting development, initiated through the Nouveaux commanditaires (New Patrons) program supported by the Fondation de France, which allows citizens and communities confronted with societal challenges or land development concerns to commission artworks from contemporary artists. In this specific case, the process made it possible to launch studies for architectural buildings intended for humans and/or animals by Aristide Antonas, Patrick Berger and Junya Ishigami.

Subsequent to the first buildings envisioned by Patrick Berger and erected for animal use, Aristide Antonas and Junya Ishigami have conceived buildings intended for human beings:
The Corridor House by Aristide Antonas, inspired by animal organizational modes and behaviors, is a house conceived on the bottom part like an ant tunnel and on the top one like a bird nest.
A House as a Village by Junya Ishigami is a house divided in several units scattered within a maze of narrow streets, and proposes new modes of circulation and porosity between species.

The land becomes a unique environment in search of a symbiosis between humans and animals, and of peaceful coexistence between species through architecture.

Grancey-le-Château, A world at the Edge / Patrick Berger’s Birds’s Pavilion is presented in conjunction with How Will We Live Together? the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, from May 22 to November 21, 2021.

With Le Consortium Unlimited endowment fund, La Fondation de France and C3B – VINCI Construction France and Buzz Management's support.



Consortium-Land (Catherine Bonnotte, Franck Gautherot, Seungduk Kim and Géraldine Minet)

Le Consortium Land is the Consortium Museum’s department for research and experimentation/architecture, social issues and environment. Founded in 1977, the Consortium Museum is a contemporary art center located in a 4,000 m2 building renovated and transformed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. It has developed a publishing company (Les presses du réel), and a movie production company (Anna Sanders films). The Consortium Museum has established an extended, uninterrupted dialogue with artists, making it an exacting laboratory and space for aesthetic debate, with exhibitions as its language.
Throughout its history, the Consortium Museum has developed specific expertise in the conception and realization of large-scale projects related to architecture, visual arts, cinema and publishing. It models itself as an actor for cultural development on a territorial level.