The Australian Institute of Architects has unveiled plans and preview images of its exhibition, Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture, which will open at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale this August. In the face of new economic, social and cultural challenges, the exhibition at the Australian Pavilion seeks to 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.
Building upon the "Common Ground" theme set by the Director of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, David Chipperfield, Formations will explore concepts that unite the architectural profession, whilst celebrating points of difference. This will be communicated through a program 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:
Exhibitor team: Richard Goodwin Pty Ltd
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: 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: supermanoeuvre
A complex robotically fabricated sculptural installation, which explores the potential for ‘robot craftsmen’ and new technologies to change the way we design.
Exhibitor team: Healthabitat
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: 2112Ai 100YC
A digital installation that showcases futuristic urban visions for the European Capital of Culture, the city of Maribor in Slovenia, and exploring how external pressures on the profession will change the way our cities are designed.
Exhibitor team: Archrival
Arena Calcetto, an informal meeting area in the forecourt of the Australian Pavilion, featuring sculptural Foosball tables, which encourages discussion and engagement between pavilions and challenges international rivalry.
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.’
Commissioner of the 2012 Australian Pavilion, Janet Holmes à Court, said:
‘It is exciting to see the affinity between the Australian exhibition and David Chipperfield’s Common Ground theme. We hope that Australia’s Formations exhibition and events will foster international engagement, encouraging collaboration and discourse about global issues affecting the architectural profession today.’
The Formations exhibition at the Australian Pavilion will be presented for press previews during the Vernissage on August 27 - 28 and will be open to the public throughout the Venice Architecture Biennale from August 29 through November 25, 2012.