The Australian Pavilion has won the inaugural Golden Bee Award at La Triennale di Milano.

Supported by principal partner HDR,  the architectural design of the Pavilion led by University of Technology, Sydney was titled Teatro Della Terra Alienata (Theatre of The Alienated Land) and was curated by UTS academics, Amaia Sanchez-Velasco, Jorge Valiente, Gonzalo Valiente, and Miguel Rodríguez-Casellas.

The team was awarded first prize by an international jury, based on the poignancy of their interpretation of the theme, and the quality and relevance of the ideas they put forward.

“This innovative multi-disciplinary project brings architecture, marine science and infrastructure together in speculating about the future of the reef,” says professor Elizabeth Mossop, dean of the UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.

Inspired by two years of research and teaching projects looking at the significant environmental threats to the Great Barrier Reef, the team questioned the potential for restorative design to have any real impact in solving these problems.

Since this is the first time the Triennale di Milano presented the Bee Awards,a tiotal of three international participants were chosen on the basis of the precision of their interpretation of the theme and the quality and relevance of the ideas they put forth.

“We are pleased to participate in a special forum such as the Triennale through this collaboration between HDR and UTS,” says HDR associate Ines Benavente-Molina.

“The re-imagining the fate of the Great Barrier Reef installation demonstrates how architecture can go far beyond an orthodox collection of forms and typologies. It speaks volumes about the importance of our global commitment to the unbuilt environment.”

“This is a rare opportunity to take part in a unique dialogue; one that goes beyond the confines of individual disciplines, circling emotions around scientific data, in a feedback loop of disruptive power,” says HDR Director Stefano Cottini.

“As a global firm, we have speculated that perhaps architects, like doctors, should be required to -- under the first tenant of the Hippocratic Oath -- ‘first do no harm’,” says HDR principal and architect Susanne Pini.


“We are so thrilled to have woken up to this today,” she says, adding that, “this is what collaboration produces.”

In fact, the close and ultimately collaboration between UTS and HDR was key to this success says Pini, who is one of the country’s leading mixed-use architects and heads up HDRs retail and mixed-use practice specialising in master planning, town centres, retail shopping centres and mixed-use developments.

“That cross-collaboration and the symbiotic relationship between “the depth of the two-year UTS research and our own ability to push the boundaries of what’s possible across these silos of collaboration” is why the HDR-UTS partnership won the [Golden Bee] award,” she says.

While Pini admits that the term cross-collaboration is often over-used, in this case, it was well-deseerved as “It was all about the melting pot around the Great Barrier Reef.”


Pini goes on to note that this “plays out no more dramatically than on the [global] stage of the Great Barrier Reef, which requires architecture to not just politely sit, observe and then to remedy, but rather to cross geographic, socio-political and ecological boundaries to create possibilities of resilience and restoration.”