The Woods Bagot adaptive reuse project, Tonsley Main Assembly Building (MAB), will be one of 14 to be showcased in the Australian Pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale Architettura 2018.
Completed in 2015, the 47,000sqm building set on a 61ha site was all about the repurposing of the building into a hub for an innovative living and working community.
The work of Woods Bagot and Tridente Architects transformed the site of a former car factory into a mixed use employment precinct supporting sustainable industries, advanced manufacturing, education, and research.
The theme of the exhibition that presents architectural approaches to repairing the environment through design is known as 'Repair' and is curated by creative directors Mauro Barraco and Louise Wright (Baracco+Wright Architects), in collaboration with artist Linda Tegg.
Louise Wright says that while ideas of repair are particularly applicable to Australian architects, who work in one of the most diverse and ecologically-sensitive landscapes in the world.
“We want to provoke and stimulate this discussion and position Australian architects at the cusp of international architectural consciousness around issues of repair,” says Wright.
Presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, the exhibit will also display a collection of indigenous Australian grassland species, featuring 10,000 plants.
“Rather than follow the typical industrial park approach, which would have had limited value to the industry and the wider community, we chose to imagine a thriving community within the significant industrial remains of the Tonsley site,” says Milos Milutinovic, project leader for Woods Bagot.
"A critical issue of contemporary culture and the architectural profession is the role architecture can play in repairing the built environment and giving new life to tired places for great community benefit," says Woods Bagot director Thomas Masullo.
Repair will be Australia’s seventh exhibition at the Biennale Architettura, where Australia has had a presence since 2006.