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The Vessel, Biennale 2012

The word vessel is suggestive of embodiment, enshrinement and containment. It carries associations with craft and circulation. Airship, boat, blood vessel, utensil.

Vessel is a site-specific response to the theme of Common Ground, a plank-stacked structure in conversation with the layered brick construction of the Corderie. Vessel is a contemplative space hollowed out of solid matter, a light funnel, a lantern chamber, and a passage leading towards our common ground.

Literary and artistic affinities constitute our common ground. Architecture’s deeper resonance is related to its wider culture. The work of other architects, artists, poets, and performers sustains us. They provide inspiration for us to make our own work. Such affinities are part of our cultural context. We have invoked precedent and invited practitioners to contribute to our installation. We have remembered inspirational works and reflected on projects that run parallel to our own pursuits.

Bricks are cast from a mould, each special brick has to be hand-thrown from its own wooden casing. Clods of clay are dug out from the forest floor and the wood for the mould is cut from the trees. Brick and timber, the raw materials of archaic construction, have not changed much since the ship-builders built their vessels between the brick columns and walls and wooden windows of the Corderie.

Arsenale di Venezia, Italy
45°26'05.7"N 12°20'59.6"E
Start Year:
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters 2015 Awards: O’Donnell + Tuomey
    Dublin, 29 Oct  – 9 Nov 2015
  • Irish Design 2015 Design Island
  • Ireland at Venice 2012
  • Ireland at Venice 2012
  • The Vessel 2012
    Venice, Italy

Contributors to Common Ground:
Seamus Heaney
Tim Robinson
Liam Flynn
Joseph Walsh Studio
Williams and Tsien
Peter Salter
Janet Mullarney
Marie Foley

With the additional support of:
Culture Ireland
Coford – National Council for Forest Research and Development
Glennon Brothers
Wood Marketing Federation
Gem Joinery
Swift Brickwork
Coleford Brick
London School of Economics
Office of Public Works


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