‘Spaces in Between’; Saudi Arabia’s debut Pavilion at​ ​the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2018

Misk Art Institute commissions the debut of Saudi Arabia’s first ever Pavilion entitled “Spaces in Between” located in the Arsenale.

In response to the theme FREESPACE set by the curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara for the  Biennale Architettura 2018, The Saudi Pavilion ​takes the idea of ‘Spaces in Between’ to explores five decades of rapid urbanization, looking beyond the social changes reshaping Saudi to consider the architectural, urban and social forces that have led to this point. In this year’s exhibition, Saudi Arabia will be amongst 64 other participating nations, 5 of which are from the Middle East.


The curator of the Saudi Pavilion Jawaher Al-Sudairy and Dr. Sumayah Al-Solaiman commented, “the exhibition will explore the social implications of architecture. Architects Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz are using this opportunity to examine the relationship between space and architecture – hoping to engage visitors in the potential of creating interaction through redesign.”

The design team, Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz the due behind Bricklab, will interpret this year’s theme of “Free Space” through a series of interconnected structures, made of resin – a petrochemical derivative – become sites where sprawl, vacancy, isolation and inclusion are explored through film, social media samples, soundscapes, material experimentations and mapping projections (of cityscapes and data).

Where is Bdr, Moath Alofi 2016

For the architects, “Freespace” is a paradox where situations that exist simultaneously become tangible and intangible, present and absent all at once. They believe that excess connotations of technology and historicity may be discarded when architecture is reduced to its primary spatial quality. Therefore, these complexities manifest themselves in what they’ve called “Spaces in Between” which embody sensorial, spatial and temporal attributes of people’s daily lives.

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The project explores new possibilities for the utilization of liminal spaces to increase socialization and community building within Saudi’s rapidly expanding cities. Visitors are also invited to explore urban and architectural settings of Saudi cities through vignettes that engage them on the impact of space and design.

The National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia Layout

As the visitors roam around the exhibition, it will become clear that the pavilion is divided into three unequal parts. First is the entrance that allows a moment of rest and orientation, which is followed by the central installation of interconnected cylindrical spaces, which narrates the story of the Pavilion intriguing the visitor and paving the way for the third part. Last is the forum area, the place of consolidation and reflection.


A series of pods placed in the Arsenale delimit the boundaries between the inside and the outside. The resulting enclosures induce certain sentiments of inclusion and exclusion as the visitors explore the variation in scale created by the interior boundaries of the pavilion. Visitors will be constantly shifting between spaces for an exploration of the Kingdom’s built environment through a cohesive architectural language.

Project Details:

Jawaher Al-Sudairy
Dr. Sumayah Al-Solaiman

Abdulrahman Gazzaz, Bricklab
Turki Gazzaz, Bricklab

Commissioning Team:
Dr. Ahmed Mater
Stephen Stapleton
Elena Scarpa

Nojoud Alsudairi
Valeria Mariani

Production and Graphic Design:

Editorial Partner:

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