Conceived as a white box within a black box, Australia’s new cultural home on the Venice Biennale stage is now complete.The building was designed by Denton Corker Marshall after they were unanimously selected by a jury in 2012 from a shortlist of Australian firms.

The renowned Australian architecture practice's work includes landmark buildings such as the Melbourne Museum, Museum of Sydney, Australian Embassies in Tokyo and Beijing, and the Stonehenge Visitor Centre in the UK.

The Australia Council for the Arts yesterday officially unveiled the completed building, the 21st century pavilion to be sited in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, replacing the original pavilion, which was designed by Philip Cox as a temporary building.

The granite-clad building combines a singular, contemporary aesthetic to appear almost like a sculptural object sensitively set into the historic landscape of the Giardini.

Operable panels, that open and close according to exhibition needs, give a changing character to the pavilion both externally and internally, providing a myriad of options for exhibiting artists. 

As John Denton explains in Wallpaper, the large and white rectilinear volume of the exhibition space, with polished concrete floor adding to the neutral space, is designed with maximum flexibility in mind for the installations within. Meanwhile, the black granite-clad exterior incorporates a dramatic cantilever over the canal and openings on three façades which reveal glimpses of the interior.

“One of the biggest achievements of the new pavilion design was siting the building so that the entry now faces the bridge over the canal and the open spaces opposite, with better engagement with the other pavilions,” Denton said.

The space will be inaugurated by Australia’s artist representative Fiona Hall. Her work, which encompasses a range of media from sculpture to video art, will create a multisensory experience of sights and sounds with her installation titled Wrong Way Time.

The 56th International Art Exhibition runs from 9 May to 22 November 2015.

Five shortlisted concepts from Australian design teams are competing to be the first exhibit showcased in the new Australian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.


All Photography: John Gollings  (Images via Australia Council for the Arts)