30. May 2016
The newest national pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale is Australia's, completed last year in time for the Art Biennale. For this year's Architecture Biennale, the pavilion is the setting for "The Pool," curated by Isabelle Aileen Toland, Amelia Sage Holliday, and Michelle Tabet. The exhibition is "a lens through which to explore Australian cultural identity," and in turn it fills the new pavilion with a shallow pool accompanied by audio stories on the theme. Denton Corker Marshall sent us some text and images on the Australian Pavilion.
East elevation overlooking canal, panels open
Our idea for the new Pavilion of Australia was to create a simple yet powerful pavilion – a distinct presence within the Giardini della Biennale, yet sensitive to the historic gardens and surrounding pavilions. We also wanted to create a "pure," timeless sculptural object that could exude both subtlety and confidence within the context of the Giardini. Thus, we designed a white box within a black box, carefully positioned on the site to ensure minimal impact on the existing landscape.
East elevation overlooking canal, panels closed
East elevation overlooking canal
In the interest of both artists and visitors, we were determined not to cross the line of architectural expression by competing with display content. The white box interior is a pure rectilinear space of an almost perfectly square proportion. It is the largest single volume that the site allows, thus providing maximum exhibition flexibility.
West elevation and ramp to entrance
The black box exterior is a rectilinear block modified to incorporate a cantilever over the canal-side pathway. Its granite exterior can nearly disappear into the treescape or assert its power, depending on one’s angle of approach. The black box also features large operable panels on three faces, which may be opened to reveal the interior, or to provide natural light or a sense of vista.
North elevation with entrance and terrace
By allowing the opening of the panels, this otherwise solid, singular object is able to change character, chameleon-like, as the exhibitions themselves change within – closed and mysterious, open and visually accessible, or extroverted and colorful. One of these panels, the entry platform, is positioned for views of the canal, bridge, and Giardini, and was envisaged as a space for outdoor gathering, reinforcing a sense of arrival and placing the pavilion’s entry in wide public view.
In designing the pavilion as a sculptural object or, a box inside a box, we envision it as a container, transporting it from Australia to Venice. We like the idea of a mysterious black box that opens up to reveal its contents particularly in the context of the Giardini, which closes during the winter months and reopens in the spring.
Interior, empty with panels closed
Interior during 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, with "The Pool" on display
Australian Council for the Arts
Denton Corker Marshall
Services and Structural Engineers
Engineering consultant for operable panels
Advanced Design Innovations
Consultants in Italy:
FAREstudio – Local Architectural Associate
STEAM – Services and Structural Engineers
InTeA SrL – Project Manager
Contractor – Joint Venture Group of Companies:
SICOP Costruzioni e Restuari srl
567 sm, including Plant Room