UIC alumnus Matthew van der Ploeg (M.Arch 2011) is among a team of three selected by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia to design and curate the Swiss Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. Their project, Svizzera 240, was chosen from 81 proposal in a two-phase competition. The project team—van der Ploeg, Alessandro Bosshard, and Li Tavor—have been working together since 2015 as assistant lecturers for Alex Lehnerer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
From the team:
"Almost irrespective of culture or geographic location, a new flat typically consists of a volume roughly 240cm in height, dressed with white plasterboard, wood, laminate or tile ooring and off-the-shelf components and fittings. In fact, this interior is so well-known that it has become a foregone conclusion. Regardless of the exterior of a collective housing project, everyone knows what to expect from the conventional 240 interior. Its ubiquity and predictability has, until very recently, resulted in the interior’s disappearance from most forms of architectural representation. And—within an image-based discipline—a lack of representation amounts to a tacit acknowledgement that these interior spaces fall outside the claim of architecture itself.
Svizzera 240 collects a team of architects, critics, historians, artists, writers as well as industry representatives and brings the 240cm interior to Venice in order to foreground this ‘background architecture’ and speculate upon the potentials and possibilities for the contemporary 240cm interior."