A team led by Assistant Professor Rene Van Meeuwen from the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts at UWA has won the coveted position of creative director of the Australian exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, one of the discipline's most prestigious and important events.
The successful project: Augmented Australia 1914-2014 by team felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad, was the brain-child of felix, a company run by Professor Van Meeuwen and recent UWA graduates Matt Delroy-Carr and Craig McCormack. After spending the last three years developing the idea, process and technology, the team at felix invited Assistant Professor Sophie Giles (UWA), Winthrop Professor Simon Anderson (UWA) and Professor Philip Goad (The University of Melbourne) to join their bid for the Venice Biennale 2014.
"We've assembled a team of the highest quality, enabling us to represent Australia on the world stage. The collaboration so far has already borne much fruit. We're planning a high-impact exhibition demonstrating deep knowledge. It should have a big ‘WOW factor' " said Professor Van Meeuwen (who has been involved in different aspects of the Venice Architecture Biennale since 2006).
The selection was made by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)'s Venice Biennale Committee and announced at events in Sydney and Melbourne on the 18 July. The project was chosen to represent Australia from 26 team proposals, seven of which were shortlisted.
Augmented Australia 1914-2014 will bring 20 unrealised Australian projects to life through three-dimensional augmented models, images, voiceovers and animations; 10 historical designs and 10 unbuilt public buildings by contemporary architects.
Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, Professor Anderson explained that while the Australian pavilion in Venice usually houses Australia's art and architecture exhibition, next year will be very different.
"The existing pavilion will be demolished next year to make way for a new pavilion, so while we won't have a building we will be setting up marker poles with trigger points for mobile devices in the Giardini that will reveal virtual spaces," Professor Anderson said. "Instead of physical drawings, imagine holding up a smart phone and being able to see these historical and unrealised buildings inside and out."
The win presents an exciting opportunity for UWA's Advanced Computing unit students who will be involved in developing the 3-D models and animations according to Professor Sophie Giles. The 5th year unit has been run by Professor van Meeuwen for the last three years and "...the innovative work of the students was a major factor in the decision by the Venice Biennale Committee to select the UWA-based team."
An open call to architects will go out to find the 10 most interesting unbuilt public projects designed in the last 20 years. Perth-based Patron of the Arts, Janet Holmes à Court, who is Commissioner of the Australian exhibition and a Board Member of The Australian Urban Design Research Centre at UWA, will be on the selection panel.
Australia's leading architectural historian, team member Professor Philip Goad, will guide the selection of the 10 historical projects.
Professor Anderson believes the Australian exhibition will challenge the 2014 Biennale Director Rem Koolhaas' premise that in the last 100 years all national architectures have been incorporated into an overall modern international style.
"At a certain level Australian architecture has followed an international modern pathway but at a closer level all sorts of particular trends have emerged," Professor Anderson said.
Australian architecture has been successfully represented at the Venice Architecture Biennale since it began. In recent years it has become a major initiative of the AIA, and is a vital part of the promotion of their members work to the international architecture and design community. Thousands of the world's most influential architects, designers, urban planners, developers and critics visit the Biennale each year.
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, will be held from 7 June to 23 November 2014 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues in Venice, Italy.
Laura Radovan | UWA School of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts | (+61 8) 6488 1859
Michael Sinclair-Jones | UWA Public Affairs | (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783