Melbourne architects Baracco+Wright (Louise Wright and Mauro Baracco) and collaborating artist Linda Tegg hope to make “a powerful sociological statement” with their exhibition, Repair, at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. 

On entering the Pavilion, visitors will find over 10,000 native Australian grassland plants arranged inside and outside of the Pavilion’s granite structure. This field of vegetation, titled Grasslands, will allow visitors to enter a physical dialogue between architecture and the endangered plant community – with just one percent of these threatened species left in their native Australian environment.

The Pavilion focuses on architecture that integrates built and natural systems to effect repair of the environment, and in so doing, mend or improve other societal, economic and cultural conditions. In their bid to demonstrate what is at stake when we occupy land, Mauro Baracco says: “What was particularly important in conceiving of and executing this project, was the notion of taking care and taking one’s time.”

“This was deliberately not a short process; from the seeding of these plants eight months ago in Sanremo, nurturing them to life, and ultimately realising the installation in Venice, we wanted to demonstrate that by showcasing a deep sense of care in our process – and by being mindful of the land we occupy as architects – we could hopefully invite our profession (and the broader public) to think about the opportunity that lies in doing so also.”

The Pavilion features a further two components including Skylight – a custom-designed lighting installation that simulates the sun’s 24-hour energy cycle and sustains the plants inside the Pavilion – which is based on Australian time and sun patterns.

Skylight is complemented by Ground – a video series projected on 5 x 8-metre screens inside the Pavilion. It will showcase 15 architectural projects selected by the Australian Pavilion’s creative team that unpack diverse iterations of repair including The Globe (m3architecture with Brian Hooper Architect, Brisbane), the transformation of a historic building to strengthen and add to the urban form of a rural town in Queensland and Featherston House (Robin Boyd, Melbourne), a seminal Australian work that distills an approach and awareness of the ground plane further demonstrating the country’s collective consciousness of the issue.