Quite often you have to scratch the surface to find the real thing. This is the best advice you could give to the visitors of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (until 25th November 2018), as some of the themes tackled by this year's biennale may not be so obvious and the event does not seem to be as engaged with social issues as Alejandro Aravena's or so conceptual and multidisciplinary as Rem Koolhaas'.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara acted as architects rather than curators, at times reshifting the attention on the architects behind a project and on the actual proposals - from built to unbuilt (models of buildings seem to be the protagonists of many of the Biennale spaces) - rather than focusing on the people who will inhabit them.
One of their best merits remains the fact that, while studying the spaces, they stumbled upon some hidden gems in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini. Most visitors know for example Carlo Scarpa's sculpture garden at the Central Pavilion (View this photo), but while looking at the original plan for the building, Farrell and McNamara found windows designed by the Italian architect that open up on the canal outside and that had been hidden by walls.
As they scratched the surface, they reopened the windows, restoring the view on the water and inviting visitors to rediscover a previously unknown corner of the building. One of the windows has also got a lovely geometrical frame with two interlocked circles that create wonderful shadows on the floor when the light of the sun shines through.