Venice Takeaway, British Pavilion, 13th Venice Architecture Biennale aberrant architecture 2012
A large majority of architecture and interiors are bespoke, site-specific and often draw upon the narrative of a particular area. In contrast many people view standardisation in projects as a bit of a dirty word, as very much anti-design.
However, projects such as the CIEP (Integrated Centres of Public Education) primary schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, certainly challenge that viewpoint. The CIEPs are a network of schools that cover the entire city and state of Rio de Janeiro. From towns and cities to favelas and beach resorts, wherever you find people, you will find a CIEP school.
The radical and experimental school-building programme was conceived & designed by Leonel Brizola, Darcy Ribeiro & Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil in the 1980s. The programme provided a series of high quality standardised and prefabricated primary schools, which were designed to support and enhance a full-time curriculum.
The 508 CIEPs were not simply standardised to reduce costs. Instead, the ambitious design, which is shared by each school, imparts a global standard of high quality: first-rate architectural standards on the outside encourage a perception of high-quality education on the inside. The idea that every community, from suburb to favela, can take pride in architectural excellence and give every child the same opportunities is certainly a compelling ideal – especially today, when modern society in Brazil, and increasingly in the UK, is divided between rich and poor.
In a climate of austerity in the UK, with limited funds to spend on architecture and design, this year we will explore how ideas of repetition, reproduction and standardisation can not only reduce costs but also set a new global standard of high-quality design, accessible to every community.
Lauren Clayton- Spencer
Stine Marie Wojcik
Elaf Al Kamal