Guests at an official preview of Australia's contribution to the 2014 Venice Biennale of Architecture will discover first-hand 22 unbuilt Australian architectural projects brought to life through augmented reality in an exhibition created by a team largely based at The University of Western Australia.
The official preview of the Australian Pavilion of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia launched on 5 June at a three hour event in Venice, Italy, hosted by Dr Janet Holmes à Court AC, who is both Commissioner for the Australian Pavilion and Chair of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at UWA.
Dr Holmes à Court provided special guests and Vernissage pass holders with an opportunity to view Augmented Australia 1914 - 2014 ahead of the public opening tomorrow. Located in the Giardini di Castello, guests will use an application on their smart devices to explore the unbuilt projects via augmented reality.
The innovative application was developed by UWA Assistant Professor Rene Van Meeuwen through his commercial enterprise, felix. Assistant Professor Van Meewen, of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts (ALVA), leads the UWA-heavy creative director team for the Australian Pavilion, felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad. Other members include ALVA Associate Dean of Education Sophie Giles, Dean Simon Anderson, UWA architecture graduates Matt Delroy-Carr and Craig McCormack, and Professor Philip Goad of the University of Melbourne.
Biennale Director Rem Koolhaas chose ‘Fundamentals' as the theme for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, saying it would be a Biennale about architecture, not architects.
"After several Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will focus on histories - on the inevitable elements of all architecture used by any architect, anywhere, anytime (the door, the floor, the ceiling etc.) and on the evolution of national architectures in the last 100 years," he said.
In response to the theme, the Augmented Australia 1914-2014 exhibition - sponsored by UWA and others including the Australian Government, City of Perth and Austral Bricks - uses advanced visualisation techniques to reveal never-realised projects which present the century-long story of modern Australian architecture in the face of unprecedented globalisation.
Winthrop Professor Simon Anderson said the realisations were breathtaking, the narrative far from linear and the denouement surprising.
Dr Holmes à Court said: "The exhibition provides an opportunity to construct a bridge between architecture and the public by demonstrating the process, time and alternatives behind significant public works, and a chance to give archived material new life. This is a ground-breaking exhibition that tells the story of Australia's architectural heritage as never before through reimagining and hi-tech innovation."
The last Australian stop in the journey towards the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale took place on 9th May at the Linton and Kay Galleries, Perth. A preview event of the exhibition was included as part of the festivities for the AIA National Architecture Conference. Attendees enjoyed the penultimate presentation from Creative Director Rene Van Meeuwen and were shown one of the latest animations to be released - the John Andrews No.2 Bond Street, Sydney which, like all the other projects included was never realised.
The same evening, at the State Theatre Centre, organiser Patrick Ford (ALVA alumnus) invited Co-Creative Director Craig McCormack (a fellow ALVA alumnus) to share with an audience some of the spectacular animations produced by students from the Advanced Computing unit at ALVA that are included in the Biennale exhibition.
The 14th Venice Architecture Biennale runs from 7 June to 23 November, 2014.
* Users in Australia can get a taste of what's on show in Venice by downloading the Augmented Australia app. Instructions available here.
Image credit: Minifie van Schaik, Caught Unawares, 2013, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Digital reconstruction by Ben Juckes. Courtesy: felix