film still of urban landscape projected on wall
Foreign Office at the British Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2002 ©

British Council

For the 2002 Venice Architecture Biennale, foreign office architects (FOA) were selected to present a site-specific installation in the British Pavilion. The Biennale theme, Next, was curated by British architecture critic and editor, Dejan Sudjic, who invited participants to showcase 'key international projects that will be taking shape in the next five years.'

Founded by Fashid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera Polo, FOA was established as an international architecture and urban design practice, dedicated to the exploration of contemporary urban conditions, lifestyles and construction technologies. The practice's Yokohama International Port Terminal in Japan was the subject of the exhibition. Completed in the same year to coincide with the World Cup in Japan, FOA won the commission to build the terminal in 1995 - only two years after setting up the practice - after beating more than 600 entrants to the international competition.

For the show, the British Pavilion was transformed into a dark labyrinthine space in which the visitor moved through a sequence of rooms, each dedicated to a different aspect of the project: Landscape; Borderlessness; Growth; Complexity; Tools and Technology. At the heart of the exhibition was a room with images revealing the Yokohama Terminal itself. Using state-of-the-art projectors provided by leading communications providers NEC UK, FOA created a spectacular virtual and immersive space.