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For the first Holy See Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2018, internationally renowned architects were invited to design ten chapels in the forested park of the Cini Foundation on San Giorgio Maggiore Island.
Commissioned by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and curated by Professor Francesco Dal Co, the project was inspired by the 1920 Woodland Chapel created by Erik Gunnar Asplund for Stockholm’s cemetery. With his Skogskapellet , Asplund defined the chapel as a "place of orientation, encounter and meditation, seemingly formed by chance or natural forces inside a vast forest, seen as the physical suggestion of the labyrinthine progress of life."
The architects of the chapels are: Andrew Berman (USA), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Javier Corvalán (Paraguay), Eva Prats y Ricardo Flores (Spain), Norman Foster (UK), Teronobu Fujimori (Japan), Sean Godsell (Australia), Carla Juacaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal). Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel designed the pavilion for the exhibition of drawings and models by Erik Gunnar Asplund.
A visit to the ten Vatican Chapels in the “Wood” area of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, is a sort of pilgrimage, not only religious but also spiritual and aesthetic.
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