The Australian Institute of Architects has opened the doors to its national pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia with the exhibition Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture.

Featuring installations that range from robotically-fabricated sculptures to a live roaming radio show, Formations moves beyond the physical parameters of the Australian Pavilion building to emphasise the actions and processes behind contemporary architectural practice.

Devised by Creative Directors Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth with TOKO Concept Design, the exhibition showcases six innovative architectural groups through a range of installations that challenge traditional perceptions of what it is to be an architect:


  • A digital installation that showcases futuristic urban visions from international architects, artists and thinkers for the European Capital of Culture, the city of Maribor in Slovenia, and explores how external pressures on the profession will change the way our cities are designed (Exhibitor team: 2112Ai 100YC)

2112Ai 100YC, Maribor Mutations. Image courtesy of the Australian Institute of Architects.

  • Arena Calcetto, an informal meeting area in the forecourt of the Australian Pavilion, featuring sculptural Foosball tables with Foosball players designed by international architects, artists and designers. The installation encourages debate and engagement between pavilions and challenges notions of international commercial rivalry (Exhibitor team: Archrival),
  • A touring team consulting local Venetians about ways to improve their homes, educating the public about connections between housing design and health issues, whilst within the Giardini, the energy and environmental performance of the Pavilion is monitored through an interactive exhibition (Exhibitor team: Healthabitat),

Richard Goodwin’s Formations exhibition installation. Image courtesy of the Australian Institute of Architects.

  • A water taxi journey around the Giardini, returning back to the Australian Pavilion via a zip line – extending the exhibition beyond the Australian Pavilion and creating new ways of experiencing la Biennale di Venezia, whilst exploring the potential to create new public and private spaces in Venice (Exhibitor team: Richard Goodwin Pty Ltd),
  • A complex robotically-fabricated sculptural installation, which explores the potential for ‘robot craftsmen’ and new technologies to transform the way we design (Exhibitor team: supermanoeuvre),

supermanoeuvre’s Formations exhibition installation. Image courtesy of the Australian Institute of Architects.

  • A live roaming radio show, hosted by architects and academics, broadcast for the duration of the Vernissage, discussing international architectural issues (Exhibitor team: The Architects Radio Show).


As new economic, social and cultural challenges present themselves, Formations aims to be a catalyst for discussion and debate around the changing role of architects and the ways in which they influence the world around them.

Building upon the Common Ground theme set by the Director of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, David Chipperfield, Formations explores concepts that unite the architectural profession, whilst celebrating points of difference.

A programme of events running alongside the exhibition includes workshops and informal discussions between international exhibitors and visitors, fostering a collaborative working environment within la Biennale di Venezia’s Giardini site.

The radio show

It’s possible to keep up-to-date with events via The Architects on Triple R, who are broadcasting live during the first week of the architecture biennale on the FM dial, from the giardini and various points around the island of Venice.

One of the broadcasters, Rory Hyde, says on his blog in the context of the exhibition, the radio show ‘is our ‘practice formation’: representing the dissemination of architectural ideas through interviews and discussion’.

The Architects, testing the mobile radio studio in Venice. Source: Rory Hyde

 It’s a fully self-contained micro-studio, on wheels, with a FM transmitter, aerial, mixing desk, four microphones and headsets, all running off a 12 volt car battery. Hyde said they had it fabricated back in Melbourne, and shipped over in a container with the rest of the gear for the Australian exhibition.

They will be broadcasting from the Australian pavilion in the giardini in the mornings, and then moving to another spot somewhere in the city in the afternoons.

They are on 108.00 FM in Venice (for now) and