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First images of Australia’s Biennale Exhibition

‘Unexpected Forms of Architecture’ was the event title for the unveiling of what will be shown at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Australian pavilion. The Australian Institute of Architects presented plans and preview images of its exhibition which will open in August.

Director David Chipperfield set the theme ‘Common Ground’ for the 13th International Architecture Exhibition. As new economic, social and cultural challenges present themselves, the exhibition ‘Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture’ will act as a catalyst for discussion and debate around the changing role of architects and the ways in which they influence the world around them.

The projects around the Australian pavilion will explore concepts that unite the architectural profession, whilst celebrating points of difference. This will be communicated through a programme of events that will run alongside the exhibition, including workshops and informal discussions between international exhibitors and visitors that foster a collaborative working environment within the Biennale’s Giardini. 

Devised by creative directors Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth with TOKO Concept Design, the exhibition itself will showcase six innovative architectural groups through a range of installations that challenge traditional perceptions of what it is to be an architect, including:

100 YR City [Year City] – a digital installation that showcases futuristic urban visions for the European Capital of Culture 2012, the city of Maribor in Slovenia, and exploring how external pressures on the profession will change the way our cities are designed.
Exhibitor team: 2112 AI [architectural intelligence], a group of international thinkers, investigating disruptive patterns of global change and envisioning future impacts on architecture, urbanism, and life.

Arena Calcetto – an informal meeting area in the forecourt of the Australian Pavilion, featuring sculptural football tables, which encourages discussion and engagement between pavilions and challenges international rivalry.
Exhibitor team: Archrival, architects from rival firms come together in a non-corporate space to produce work that would be impossible to create within the confines of a standard architectural practice.

A touring team consulting local Venetians about ways to improve their homes, educating the public about connections between housing design and health issues.
Exhibitor team: Healthabitat, an exemplary formation that improves the health and living environment of disadvantaged people through good design. Healthabitat works with Indigenous Australians and internationally in Nepal and New York City.

A water taxi journey around the Giardini, returning back to the Australian Pavilion via a zip line – extending the exhibition beyond the Australian Pavilion and creating new ways of experiencing the Biennale, whilst exploring the potential to create new public and private spaces in Venice.
Exhibitor team: Richard Goodwin Pty Ltd, a multi-disciplinary practice committed to advancing the power of urban planning and rethinking our cities via public art and ‘parasitic’ architectural interventions. Central to its work is the notion of adaptive reuse and testing the boundaries between art and architecture.

A complex robotically fabricated sculptural installation, which explores the potential for ‘robot craftsmen’ and new technologies to change the way we design.
Exhibitor team: supermanoeuvre, widens the physical and conceptual boundaries of architecture through computational design and advanced fabrication, experimentation, collaboration, teaching and research. Operating from Sydney and London, its work spans robotic design, technical and education networks and high-density housing.

The Architects Radio Show – a live roaming radio show, hosted by architects and academics, will be broadcast for the duration of the Vernissage, discussing international architectural issues.
Exhibitor team: The Architects Radio Show, a weekly 3RRR (Melbourne) radio programme produced collaboratively by academics and directors from various architectural practices.

The creative directors, Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth, said:

‘It’s very exciting to see how the architectural profession is evolving, the new domains that are being explored and the vitality and variety of innovative architectural types that Australia seems to foster. Formations highlights the range of unconventional and world-leading architectural practice types being developed across Australia, celebrating new opportunities for architects that are working in non-traditional and unexpected ways.’

‘The exhibition participates in the global discussion about the evolution and future of architectural practice, placing forward-thinking Australians at the heart of this conversation and exploring the increased opportunities that alternate forms of architectural practice present for the international profession to shape the built environment and make significant contributions in new fields of work.’

The Australian pavilion will be open to the public throughout the Venice Architecture Biennale from 29 August – 25 November 2012.

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