‘Real World’ Creative Directors chosen for Australian Pavilion at 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale

The Australian Institute of Architects today announced Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth, working in close collaboration with TOKO Concept Design, will head the creative team for the Australian Pavilion at the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennale – the world’s most important upcoming architectural event.

Both Co-Creative Directors are highly regarded practicing architects and academics. They bring a wealth of experience in practice, and visionary understanding of the evolutionary processes currently occurring across the architectural profession.

The team will present ‘Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture’an exhibition designed to “challenge traditionally held beliefs about what architecture can be, and celebrate new opportunities for architects working in non-traditional ways”.


Collage Anthony Burke, Source Photo © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.arCC-BY-SA-3.0

To do so, ‘Formations’ will highlight “the unconventional and world-leading innovative range of architectural practice types being developed across Australia”.

Opening in second-half 2012, the exhibition will feature a select group of architects working in non-traditional ways and domains – bringing their skills and expertise to areas as diverse as robotic fabrication, government policy, and indigenous housing.

The Australian Pavilion will be transformed into a “soft landscape of connections and possibilities”, featuring a series of installations or ‘formations’ responding to the light-filled, sculpted pavilion interior.

Each installation will be designed as “spaces of real world innovation”.

Focusing on actual projects and their impact, the pavilion will be a “space of engagement” in which viewers can interact and “participate in architectural conversation at close quarters”. Complementing this, will be a series of “flash formations” – free informal and intimate public events around Venice, “allowing viewers to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most innovative architectural practices and commentators and their work”.

Describing the exhibition, Gerard said: “By exploring innovative practice types and their design output, the exhibition will provoke discussion around issues of the future of the profession and the kind of problems architects are becoming involved with.”

Outlining the exhibition focus, Anthony said: “It’s very exciting to see where architectural work is heading, the new domain areas that are being explored and the vitality and variety of innovative architectural types that Australia seems to foster.”

They added: “‘Formations’ tackles questions such as: What are the influences shaping the built environment and how are architects creatively responding? How are architects thinking more broadly about their role and having a positive influence on the built environment? Is it possible to think of the architect as just ‘one thing’ any more?”

Announcing the Creative Directors’ appointment, Venice Biennale Commissioner Mrs Janet Holmes à Court said:
“As countries around the world continue to struggle with economic uncertainty and instability, it is vital that Australia  maximises every opportunity to reinforce the nation’s competitive strengths and standing on the world stage.

“The Venice Architecture Biennale, now widely regarded as the most important event on the international architecture calendar, is one of these un-missable opportunities. I have every confidence that the appointment of our 2012 Creative Director team affords us a great head-start in the promotion of the nation’s incredibly rich and diverse architectural talent.”

A total of 27 submissions were received for the role of Creative Director, with five proposals shortlisted in a rigorous selection process ahead of today’s announcement.

Australia’s attendance at the Venice Architecture Biennale is an initiative of the Australian Institute of Architects. The Institute is committed to ensuring the nation’s representation at the 2012, 2014, and 2016 events – after successfully representing Australia in Venice since 2006.  The nation’s most recent exhibition, the 2010 NOW and WHEN: Australian Urbanism exhibition, attracted a record 93,000-plus visitors, including the world’s leading architects, artists, media, city planners and decision-makers.

Anthony Burke
Associate Professor and Head of the School of Architecture at UTS, Anthony Burke specialises in contemporary design and theory in relation to technology and its implications for Architecture the built environment. A graduate of the MS AAD from Columbia University (2000) and a B.Arch from UNSW (Hons 1, 1996)  Anthony is an international curator, writer, and architectural designer, and a director of the architectural practice Offshore Studio.

Gerard Reinmuth
Gerard Reinmuth is a Director of TERROIR, the practice he founded with Richard Blythe and Scott Balmforth in 1999. The practice emerged from conversations between the Directors around the potential for architecture to open up questions of cultural consequence.  Research and practice on these questions led to his appointment as Visiting Professor at the Aarhus School of Architecture in 2010 and Professor in Practice at the University of Technology (UTS) Sydney in 2011.

TOKO Concept Design
TOKO is a multifaceted creative practice committed and driven by passion, operating out of Sydney. It’s creative output can be appreciated through their extensive portfolio of work realised for both national and international clients in a diverse range of fields. TOKO’s founding members, Dutch designers Eva Dijkstra and Michael Lugmayr, were brought up in the rich Dutch-European culture of design and art. In line with those traditions TOKO’s philosophy and creative process follows a distinctive conceptual approach in which critical thought, experimentation, and potential collaborations are key. Concepts are derived from extensive research to develop contemporary, distinctive and coherent design solutions often challenging it’s visual application, playful, unexpected and minimalist.

The Australian Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale is a major project of the Australian Institute of Architects. The Institute would like to thank sponsors Austral Bricks and Zip Industries. The Institute gratefully acknowledges the help and support given by the Australia Council for the Arts, including the use of the Pavilion for this exhibition. In addition, the Institute acknowledges the generous financial support given by the architecture community through Network Venice practices and significant donors.

Media Release by: Australian Institute of Architects – Trish Croaker, National Media/PR Advisor

Visit: Venice Architecture Biennale – Australian Institute of Architects