By Sally-Ann Jones
Designs for a 22nd century metropolis - created by staff, graduates and students of our Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts - are on display in one of the world's oldest cities, Venice.
The city, famous for its magnificent architecture and a World Heritage Site, is hosting its 13th international Architecture Biennale, which has drawn a big contingent from UWA.
In and around buildings that reflect periods such as the Baroque, Byzantine, Gothic, Ottoman and Renaissance, the Biennale is a celebration of creativity.
Winthrop Professor Geoffrey London is Chair of the Australian Committee for this year's Biennale and Assistant Professor Sophie Giles, in Europe on a Faye Gale Fellowship, was selected from 200 architect applicants to staff the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) pavilion. Recent graduate Kara Guerney was also chosen to staff the pavilion.
And another ALVA alumnus, Dr Ian Weir, was chosen by the AIA to represent innovation in Australian architecture. Since 1996, Dr Weir's work has focused on the biodiverse bushfire-prone landscapes of the south-west's Fitzgerald bioregion. He won acclaim for the design of a Bremer Bay house which can sustain itself during a bushfire without human intervention.
Meanwhile, several ALVA staff members and students have the honour of having their work exhibited in Venice. They were invited to submit three projects for the Maribor 2012 European Capital of Culture project. Maribor, in Slovenia, is an ancient market town - and the project called for visionary master-plans for the city in 100 years' time. They are on show in Venice, in both the Australian and Slovenia pavilions.
The ALVA invitees created 3D computer imagery, graphic images and 3D models for the project. Those who took part were: Assistant Professor Rene Van Meeuwen (architecture and landscape), Assistant Professor Jon Tarry (visual arts), Craig McCormack (postgraduate, space architecture), Matthew Delroy-Carr (graduate, water sustainable design), Tristan Morgan (postgraduate, generative architecture), Domenic Trimboli (graduate, remote architecture) and Katie Morgan (undergraduate, food harvesting architecture).
Assistant Professor Van Meeuwen said he ran a fifth-year studio on the exhibition entry requirements and chose the undergraduates' best two projects. The third project was a collective, multi-disciplinary submission from all tutors and students involved.
"We focused on two key texts: Massive Change: The Future of Global Design, co-authored by Bruce Mau, and The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawkins. This allowed our team to project a future based on future technology and knowledge," Assistant Professor Van Meeuwen said.
They came up with the idea of a utilitarian pergola whose roof is a societal structure that harvests water and energy on a suburban scale. In this future, knowledge is the commodity and the Earth is regarded as a large living structure which everyone cares for. The Maribor of 2112 is the site of the first orbital galactic space elevators, which enable human/alien encounters.
Maybe there'll be aliens exhibiting in the Venice Architecture Biennale in the next century!
Published in UWA News, 17 September 2012