OPEN THE BOX Installation at the Time Space Existence Exhibition 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale Experiencing art creates the capacity for an insightful, aesthetic, and aspirational curated life that can touch people from all strata of society, potentially moving their existence to a better place. Architecture designed for the arts can amplify this impulse, constructing connective tissue across seemingly intractable boundaries. Open the Box, an environmental installation on display at the Time Space Existence Exhibit at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale, challenges those in the art world to break down the barriers that separate diverse people from the potential threshold that art can create in their lives. Open the Box is sustainable, composed of a brickwork pattern of closed re-cyclable corrugated boxes interspersed with open boxes depicting images, audio/video, and text of our architecturally accessible cultural sites. It is a clarion call to cultural stakeholders to encourage critical thinking, shared conversations, and public participation. Early precedence abounds for civic space becoming the heartbeat of participatory aesthetic enlightenment. Built in 367 BC, the Mouseion at Alexandria not only stored historic texts, but also regularly engaged the public with multi-disciplinary dialogue about the arts. Fast forward to the 1960’s when this practice was intensified with provocative art projects in the public domain that further blurred the lines between art and architecture. Critically positioned as idea-driven, off the wall and in the landscape, art became more expansive and approachable. Today with the dynamism of 21st century digital technology, the historical trajectory of this participatory paradigm can further evolve as we reconfigure multi-functional public places such as airports, distribution centers and underutilized retail facilities into hybrid sites that celebrate the local and global civic role of art in our lives. At its best, architecture for arts and culture is a porous vessel, a living organism, sometimes bounded by a semi-permeable container, that can communicate directly with its community. Art silos are now a part of the past. Composed of ordinary re-cyclable corrugated cardboard boxes covered with graphic information and an embedded video screen playing a reoccurring informational loop, Open the Box strove to achieve “the most for the least”, communicating a big community conceptual message in a very small space.
Practicing locally and globally, Louise Braverman Architect is an award-winning practice driven by a deep passion to create architecture of art + conscience. Recent built projects that embrace distinct communities include Poets House, a transparent library + learning center in Battery Park City, NY that brings all voices of poetry inside, Centro de Arts Nadir Afonso, an art museum in Boticas, Portugal that encourages public participation with art; the Derfner Museum, an art museum in Riverdale, NY that facilitates multi-generational engagement and Village Health Works Staff Housing, a net-zero dormitory for medical workers on an off-the grid site in post-genocide Burundi, Africa. Together these projects reveal the studio's core belief in the power of architecture to positively affect the way in which we live.The firm has won over 50 design awards resulting in invitations to present at 5 consecutive Venice Architecture Biennales both at international exhibits and the USA Pavilion.