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Pavilion of Dominican Republic at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition– La Biennale di Venezia

Venice, St. George’s Anglican Church, Campo San Vio
Dorsoduro 729/730
August 29th – November 29th 2020


Architect: Lidia León Cabral
Curator: Roberta Semeraro
Commissioner: Eduardo Selman – Minister of Culture
On-site Representative for the Minister of Culture: Iris Peynado

The Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic has chosen the interior design project Conexión by architect Lidia León Cabral and art critic Roberta Semeraro to represent the Dominican Republic at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition-La Biennale di Venezia. The project, supported by Fundación Lileón, is in collaboration with Italian Cultural Association RO.SA.M. and its vice-president Iris Peynado.

Conexión is not only an interior architecture project by architect Lidia León for the Anglican church of St. George’s, but also a concrete example, where architecture promotes the conditions of coexistence between individuals in the common space. It is no coincidence that the Anglican church is a church of its own pluralist nature, in which different trends in worship and many international communities coexist harmoniously.

The project has found its perfect location in the Anglican church, because of its connotation as a collective space, lively and permeable to expressions of arts.

Conexión (detail of tobacco leaves by Lidia León 2020 Venice, Anglican church of St. George’s)

León has designed a common space, simple in structure and organic in form, both functional and affective, in which all those who attend St. George’s church will be able to recognize themselves beyond their different countries of origin.

The installation is limited to the nave which is the collective area of the church. The architect conceived the space as a sort of autumn garden, with falling leaves all covering the floor together, dressing it in a soft gold-coloured mantle or rising towards the vault. The leaves, in their brown and golden shades, are connected to the colours of the sacred furnishings and specifically to the precious 18th century frame of the altarpiece.

The drawing created on the semi-transparent panels consists of tobacco leaves fragments, left to dry by architect León in some experiments focused on the transformation of materials and inspired by the WABI SABI philosophy. Tobacco leaves themselves connect with the Caribbean landscape and the ancient traditions of tobacco cultivation and processing in its land. This cosmic vision where the cyclic descending/ascending movement of the leaves connects the earthly dimension to the spiritual one, drives communities to pay a greater attention towards collective spaces, preserving them for future generations.

Visitors to the Biennale Architettura 2020 and people who attend the church will find themselves involved in LiLeón’s garden, and will have that fundamental awareness that being connected to one another is the most important thing for any possible coexistence between individuals.

The project includes a program of activities that will take place in Venice and in Dominican Republic, organized by emerging Dominican architects, coordinated by architects Jesús D’Alessandro and Alex Martinez Suárez, related to the central theme of this Biennale Architettura 2020 “How will we live together?”.

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