Western Sahara

Iwan contributed to Manuel Herz’s Western Sahara Country Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2015.

This contribution represents the first time ever, that a nation in exile is represented with a pavilion at the Biennale Architettura di Venezia. It also aims at using the – at times contested – concept of the ‘National Pavilion’ as an instrument to bring the Western Sahara on eye level with the other nations represented at the Biennale, while also allowing for novel ideas for the nation state to enter the debate.

The Western Sahara is a country located at the western edge of the African continent. Formerly a Spanish colonial territory, and since 1975 occupied by Morocco, it has been called the world’s last remaining colony. With the beginning of a guerrilla war against Morocco, most of the Western Saharan population – the Sahrawis – had to flee across the border into Algeria where it settled in refugee camps, today housing approximately 160.000 Sahrawis. Even though the Sahrawis do not have control over their own country, they proclaimed independence of the Western Sahara on February 27, 1976. Its sovereignty is recognized today by approximately 40 countries, though its status remains unresolved.

Further Reading: Pavilion of the Western Sahara, Manuel Herz Architects