The nordic pavilion on the Biennale campus in Venice resulted from a competition in 1958 and was official opened in 1962. The roof consists of concrete beams one metre high in two direction: each beam is 6 cm thick and together they form a 2-metre high brise soleil. Transparent roof elements are suspended between the uppermost beams. These plastic units impart an oriental, venetian tone to the strict articulation. To preserve the intensity of the light, the entire building was casted in a mixture of white cement, white sand and crushed marble. It is a nordic shadeless light.
The three plane trees inside the 446-squaremetre unsupported space are almost the only vertical elements. The trees intensify, as do the large walls of glass, the impression of being both inside and outside at the same time. In both realms, nature and culture face each other. At a certain distance the beams seem both to collide with and evade the trees. Outside, to the left of the entrance, Fehn has kept the big old plane tree where the enormous main beam divides into a Y. It is the strongest gesture imaginable. The old trees rise out of the earth, stretching through the roof, up into the sky. Upon the earth and under the sky we humans dwell—who Heidegger calls “the mortal ones.” Heidegger often quotes Hölderlin’s words that man “dwells poetically upon the earth.”