The UTS School of Architecture has been selected to present one of only two Australian projects at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. The three-month festival titled The State of the Art of Architecture is the first of its kind to be held in the USA.
Professor Anthony Burke, head of UTS School of Architecture explains that the Chicago Architecture Biennial is one of 2015's big stories in global architecture and aims to rival the Venice Biennale in scope. He notes that UTS' inclusion in the prestigious event points to Australia's leadership in the critical practice around international urban environments.
Indo Pacific Atlas, the project to be presented at the festival, is the creation of UTS School of Architecture academics, Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna with UTS Masters of Architecture (Research) students Endriana Audisho, Christina Deluchi, Kane Pham and Gonzalo Valiente.
UTS will be joined by Sydney design organisation otherothers, a UTS-connected team of Grace Mortlock, who tutors in the School of Architecture master's program, and associate of the school David Neustein.
Using a series of maps and installations, the Indo Pacific Atlas addresses the controversial decision to place Australia at the centre of the newly formed Indo-Pacific region. Grau explained that the architectural implications of the new location intrigued them.
The study references the 2013 Australian Defence White Paper, Indo-Pacific Strategic Arc, which relocated Australia to the centre of the region that includes East coast of Africa, West coast of South America, South East Asia and the Gulf. It looks specifically at the various planning structures and spatial challenges of six diverse cities represented within the region: Beirut, Cape Town, Medellin, Perth, Qatar and Valparaiso.
Over 4,000 photographs taken during field trips were transformed into a 10-metre collage with the visual component fostering comparative insights into these thriving cities. A four-channel sound piece guides users through the historical journey of each city.
The announcement rounds off an impressive year for Grau and Goberna whose practice Fake Industries Architectural Agonism was one of six groups shortlisted in the world's biggest design competition, the Guggenheim Helsinki.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial will run from 3 October to 3 January.