Beyond Form (Venice Biennale)

La Biennale di Venezia, Venice/Italy

Werner Sobek, Stuttgart

Planning time
2015 – 2016

Execution time

Services rendered by Werner Sobek
Structural engineering
Project engineering

Werner Sobek has been invited by the curator of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Alejandro Aravena, to contribute an exhibit to the show in the “Arsenale”. The resulting work, “Beyond Form”, is a textile-covered cube that is partially veiled by a black cloth. The sides of the cube measure 4.669 m in length. This corresponds to one of the two Feigenbaum constants that describes the transition of a non-linear system from regular to chaotic behaviour. The text of the 2013 Assessment Report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a document which describes the consequences of anthropogenic climate change in nine languages – is printed across all of the cube’s external walls.

The sides of the cube are made of textile-spanned timber frames. The outer edge is formed from four wooden planks, each with a cross-sectional profile of 40 mm x 200 mm. The frames are braced using wire cables with a diameter of 3 mm. Tilting the timber planks by 45° allowed the individual wooden frames to be joined directly via the contact surfaces. Furthermore, rotating the planks along their longitudinal axes increased the structure’s rigidity along the planes appropriate for the textile covering, thus permitting the cross-sectional resistance of the timbers to be used efficiently. The base support for the timber frames consists of a beam grid system with two beams running in each direction. This grid rests on steel supports at its four points of intersection.