Animation: Gabija Naikauskaitė


18 May – 26 November 2023  

Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm 

2125 Campo Tana, Castello, Venice


Animation: Gabija Naikauskaitė

There is only less than a week left to visit the Children’s Forest Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura in Venice before the wooden playscape returns to the forests of the Curonian Spit from where it was hewn and took shape. We are writing here to take stock of its remarkable journey and share some of the many highlights.

From 17 to 19 May, the pavilion opening was celebrated with daily live sound performances by architect Tuomas Toivonen using timber parts, strings, mallets, vibrations, voice, breath, electronics and field recordings. The pavilion was inaugurated by commissioner Ines Weizman, Vice-Minister of Culture Daina Urbanavičienė, Rector of Vilnius Academy of Arts Ieva Skauronė, and the curatorial team Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule and Jonas Žukauskas.  

Conceived as an educational tool, the pavilion invites to play and learn about forests as architectural and infrastructural spaces. It is made out of timber from trees on the Curonian Spit that has, over several years, been collected in the Timber Seasoning Shed at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts as part of the project Neringa Forest Architecture.

From May to June, the pavilion was used for workshops conducted by environment educator Riitta Nykänen (Nyyskä)  from the Mustarinda Association and educator Vilius Vaitiekunas for local schoolchildren and educators. Together, they followed the 500-year timeline of the forest depicted in the pavilion, unfolding the complex relations at stake in the forest space via playful activities. Since their return to school this autumn, pupils and pre-school children have continued to visit the pavilion with their teachers.

Over the summer months, the pavilion attracted numerous visitors of all ages who spelt words out with the Mountain Pine Alphabet, rested in the shade between Slime Mould Spores, read about Forest Time, listened to the Timber Reverberations, played with Forest Layer Shadows, watched the Forest Workshops film, hunted Eco-Monsters, counted colours of wool Fairies and learned from the Forest Continuum Workbook. In total, around 30,000 people experienced the pavilion.

On 14 September, the ‘Baltic Formula’ event brought together the curatorial teams of the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Austrian pavilions. Moderated by curator Aurora Fonda, the conversation revolved around their experiences of developing and implementing projects for the 18th Biennale Architettura. Specific focus was given to how each pavilion developed an authentic sensibility towards the locality of the historic city of Venice and its challenges, and the unique ways it responded to the main topic of this year’s Biennale – The Laboratory of the Future.

On 14 October, as part of the event, ‘A Fragile Conversation’ curated by Scotland + Venice, the Children’s Forest Pavilion hosted a reading by writer Cal Flyn, expanding on the themes of architecture, land, landscape and language.

Later in October, the pavilion was visited by a delegation from the Neringa municipality, the Curonian Spit National Park and the Neringa Museums. Our collaboration with these institutions and organisations has made it possible for the Children’s Forest Pavilion to return to the Curonian Spit, where it will be installed in a woodland location and function as a destination for forest walks and environmental education workshops.

The Biennale Architettura 2023 and the Lithuanian pavilion will be open until 26 November 2023. 

Organised by: Neringa Forest Architecture
Implemented by: Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts
Partner: Centre for Documentary Architecture
Supported by: Vilnius academy of arts, Lithuanian Council for Culture Neringa Municipality, Nordic Culture Point, Baltic Culture Fund

Many thanks to the invigilators who attentively cared for the pavilion and its visitors over the months: Rugilė Akambakaitė, Magdalena Beliavska, Augusta Fišerytė, Aistė Gaidilionytė, Rimantas Giedra, Gustė Kripaitė, Marta Dorotėja Lekavičiūtė, Gabija Naikauskaitė, Viktorija Narbutaitė, Vilius Vaitiekūnas, Kamilė Vasiliauskaitė, Gabrielė Vrublevska.

Contributors: Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Ancient Woods Foundation, Gabrielė Grigorjevaitė, Laura Garbštienė, Mustarinda Association (Tiina Arjukka Hirvonen, Michaela Casková, Robin Everett, Riitta (Nyyskä) Nykänen), Mantas Peteraitis, School of Creativity (Kristupas Sabolius), New Academy (Ikko Alaska, Nene Tsuboi, Tuomas Toivonen), Urbonas Studio (Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas), Kornelija Žalpytė.

Curators: Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule, Jonas Žukauskas
Commissioner: Ines Weizman
Architecture: Jonas Žukauskas in collaboration with Antanas Gerlikas, Jurgis Paškevičius, Anton Shramkov
Graphic design: Monika Janulevičiūtė
Poster illustration: Izadora Daubaraitė Žukauskaitė
Moss hats and shawls: Banan Vedro, Circulation of Infernation, Doch, Heorhii Hohatadze
Videography: Eitvydas Doškus, Elis Hannikainen
Video editing: Ignė Narbutaitė
Lighting: Martynas Kazimierėnas
Coordination: Dovilė Lapinskaitė
Coordination in Venice: Marco Scurati
Communication: Stefanija Jokštytė, Anna Luise Schubert, Alexandra Bondarev
Translation and proofreading: Alexandra Bondarev, Gemma Lloyd
Project assistant: Vilius Vaitiekūnas
Accounting: Rasa Bliakevič
Legal consulting: Neringa Savickė, Kotryna Volodkaitė

Thanks to:, Gražina Banienė, Adriano Berengo, Yulia Derenko, Gaetano di Gregorio, Aurora Fonda, Laura Gabrielaitytė-Kazulėnienė, Pranas Gudaitis, Monika Kalinauskaitė, Dr. Mindaugas Lapelė, Laguna nel Bicchiere – Le Vigne Ritrovate, Marija Olšauskaitė, Rimantė Paulauskaitė-Digaitienė and Dr. Ainis Pivoras from the Ancient Woods Foundation, Viktorija Rybakova, Mindaugas Survila, Nida Forestry, Kretinga Forestry, the Curonian Spit National Park.

Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts: Milena Černiakaitė, Vasilisa Filatova, Alberta Globienė, Giedrius Globys, Asta Jackutė, Dalia Jokūbauskaitė, Lina Košeleva, Aldona Lankauskienė, Elena Orlovienė, Daura Polonskytė, Ieva Skauronė, Yana Ustymenko, Katerina Vaseko, Tetjana Volosiuk.

All the children, educators, and schools who participated in workshops in Lithuania and Finland: Puolankajärvi Comprehensive School (Puolanka, FI), Hyrynsalmi Comprehensive School (Hyrynsalmi, FI), Neringa Gymnasium (Nida, LT), Young Forest Friends (Kretinga, LT), Baltupiai Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Gerosios Vilties Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Emilijos Pliaterytės Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Pavilnys Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Sietuva Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Simonas Konarskis Gymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Simonas Stanevičius Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Vasily Kachalov Gymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Vilnius Sofya Kovalevskaya Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT).