The Australia Council for the Arts has announced the architects shortlisted for the redevelopment of the Australian pavilion in Venice.

The shortlist completes the first of a two-stage selection process endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects. The six architectural practices shortlisted are:

  • Bud Brannigan Architects
  • Denton Corker Marshall
  • John Wardle Architects
  • Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Peter Stutchbury Architecture
  • Sean Godsell Architects

“We received 67 Expressions of Interest (EOI) as part of the first stage of the selection process — an open call to all Australian architects for credentials. From this, a panel selected six practices on their demonstrated capability, suitability, experience and skills to undertake this project,” said Rose Hiscock, Executive Director, Arts Development.

As part of the second and final stage, the shortlisted practices will be invited to submit a comprehensive tender proposal against a design brief that has been informed by discussions with artists, curators and key stakeholders, and reviewed and endorsed by the AIA.

The shortlist was labelled a ‘yawner’ on the blog Butterpaper, the selection panel “playing it safe, with just a couple of smallish practices” on the list and all of them “blokes who graduated before 1986”.

Peter Stutchbury Architecture’s ‘The Hangar’ this month won The COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture in the Australian Institute of Architects national awards. Photograph by Michael Nicholson

The shortlist was selected by a panel comprising members from the architectural profession and arts sector: Luca Belgiorno-Nettis AM (Joint Managing Director of Transfield Holdings; Chair, Biennale of Sydney); Doug Hall AM (Australian Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2011; former Director, Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art 1987-2007); Ms Kathy Keele (CEO, Australia Council for the Arts); Mr Simon Mordant (Australian Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2013; Chair, Museum of Contemporary Art); and Mr Brian Zulaikha (President, Australian Institute of Architects; Director, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects).

“The EOI's were of the highest standard,” said Brian Zulaikha. “There was an incredibly diverse range of interest, from sole practitioners to large Australian architectural organisations, and the selection of a shortlist was difficult. We believe we have chosen a truly talented group of firms which represents a breadth of architectural excellence.”

The panel will be joined by Ms Lesley Alway (Director, Asialink Arts; former Director, Heide Museum of Modern Art); and Mrs Penelope Seidler AM (Director, Harry Seidler and Associates; Board of Directors, Biennale of Sydney) for stage two of the selection process.

It is anticipated that the successful architectural practice will be selected and announced in March 2012, with the new pavilion due to be completed for the opening of the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015.

“The Australia Council would like to thank all architects for their time and effort in preparing their EOI,” said Rose. “We are pleased to have received submissions of such a high calibre and feel very excited about this project and its possibilities — for artists and audiences alike.”

The project, managed by the Australia Council, is estimated to cost $4 million-$6 million with all capital funds to be sourced from the private sector.

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