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    Australia’s 2018 Venice Biennale pavilion: dialogue between architecture and endangered plants

    Kirsty Sier

    50,000 native and endangered plants will travel to Venice next year as part of Australia’s 2018 Venice Biennale pavilion.

    The winning submission, by Baracco+Wright Architects with artist Linda Tegg, opens a physical and conceptual dialogue between architecture and the endangered plant community. Thousands of temperate grassland species will sit alongside large-scale architectural projections in a pavilion that addresses the 2018 Biennale theme of Freespace.

    The theme for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition was chosen by curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, who asked participants to “[review] ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the wellbeing and dignity of each citizen on this fragile planet”. Australia’s contribution is to be presented by the Australian Institute of Architects.

    In response, Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright of Baracco+Wright Architects, along with Linda Tegg, have created a living installation called Repair. By placing threatened plant communities in juxtaposition with architecture, the creators pose questions about what’s at stake when we – and our built environment – occupy land.

    By focusing on a breed of architecture that integrates rather than competes with natural systems, Farrell and McNamara hope to “stimulate discussion on core architectural values” and to reinforce the “relevance of architecture and this dynamic planet”.

    Jill Garner, the chair of the Venice Biennale committee, described Repair as an “immersive, multi-sensory exhibition that will engage visitors with the concept of repair, an approach to architectural thinking, set to become a critical strategy of architectural culture.”

    Australia’s pavilion from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, a water-filled installation called The Pool: Architecture, Culture & Identity by Sydney-based practice Aileen Sage Architects in collaboration with urban strategist Michelle Tabet, is currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

    The 16th International Architecture Exhibition will run from 26 May to 25 November 2018 in Venice.

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