Architecture is generous because of what it enables. It connects because of its capacity to engage physically, and to be invested with collective meaning. This process involves negotiation and appropriation: qualities that may be seen as defining characteristics of British architecture.
Generosity tends to be found in the space carved out by negotiation—often the result of contradiction, doubt, or the need for a shared understanding—thanks to a lack of preconceived outcomes, and an openness to other ideas. This in turn allows a nimble engagement and navigation of the ambiguous territories of architecture and the public realm as domains for civic life; spaces of multiple interactions, exchanges and parallel economies.
A generous architecture might therefore be understood as the result of appropriated influences—both from within architecture and the wider circumstances from which it is born. An openness to unexpected outcomes, varied authorship, the influences of time, and responsiveness to changing or undefined opportunities characterise this approach.
We proposed to present the British Pavilion as a gift to the city of Venice, embracing the double-sided promise of its plan, to become a Public House. It would become a new free space; a border-crossing open to the Venetian public and Biennale visitors alike, and—in the spirit of such frontiers—accommodate a richness of encounters and exchanges. The British Pavilion would be adjusted to enable a programme of events around a rich archive of 100 exhibits.