To reflect on this question, Finns, Norwegians and Swedes could not find a better place than their own pavilion. Originally designed by the Pritzker laureate Sverre Fehn in 1962, this aesthetically charged building epitomizes all those Scandinavian modern masters who still exert great (if not irrepressible) influence on contemporary practice in the three countries and beyond.

In Therapy creates an environment where it’s possible to take candid stock of the future of Nordic architecture, such that it doesn’t feel like an exhibition. It doesn’t even try to win the visitor’s attention. Instead of being a stand-and-look show, the timber staircase is an inhabitable structure designed to convene people and convert their thoughts into voices.

“In Therapy” installation curated by David Basulto at Nordic pavilion representing Finland, Norway and Sweden at Venice Biennale 2016

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The exhibition is also an urban artefact created not only to share ideas but also to allow participants or visitors to self-analyze. It acts as a vessel that presents responses to an open call in which architectural practitioners from all over the world were invited to submit their projects that were recently realized in Nordic nations. Each suggested how their project has (or has not) contributed to either Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish society.

“In Therapy” installation curated by David Basulto at Nordic pavilion representing Finland, Norway and Sweden at Venice Biennale 2016

With its wide-open glass doors welcoming visitors from all reaches of the planet, and thoughtful questions about immigration and social integration, this exhibition stretches beyond the national borders of Nordic nations that collaborated on this thoughtful project.

+ Venice Biennale

Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat