Formations: Venice Biennale

Gerard Reinmuth and Anthony Burke have been announced as Creative Directors for the Australian Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture.  The exhibition they have proposed will be called FORMATIONS: New Practices in Australian Architecture.  They are working in collaboration with TOKO who, with Anthony and Gerard, comprise the Creative Team for the project.

The concept for the Biennale is to explore and celebrate the nature of innovative configurations of architectural practice in Australia today and the desire for a renewed form of architectural agency which drives them. It is their intention both to stimulate critical disciplinary commentary on a range of new types of Australian practices and their potentialities while also exciting a public audience with a spatially dynamic and thought provoking exhibition.

These ambitions stem from the fact that this interest in new forms of practice is perhaps the hottest topic on the international architectural circuit today.  Symposiums, articles and blog postings are fuelling an increased interest in and knowledge about these alternate forms of practice as global economic, social and political conditions have thrust attention away from “starchitecture” and toward a more socially engaged and far reaching type of practice.  They are not interested here in opportunism or novelty in practice but will focus on those practices or practitioners who are making a substantial and consequential impact in the field and well beyond it because of their reconfiguration of the idea of “the architect”.

Central motivating questions for the project include;

·         How might we characterise (and spatialise) the nature of new external pressures on our discipline?

·         How are creative architects restructuring their ideas of what it is to practice through designing new forms of practice itself? 

·         What do these new forms of practice design and make as architecture as a result?

·         How do innovations in practice give rise to new forms of agency for architecture in shaping the design of the built environment and cast new futures for the discipline?

·         How do we educate the future profession in light of such innovations in practice and the potential for the discipline they embody?

·         How do you engage a public with these forms of unexpected architecture?

Their intention is to highlight new forms of architectural practice, their spatial consequences and transformative potentials across Australian architectural design culture and the built environment.  By foregrouding Australian practice in this way the hope is to avoid a jingoistic or parochial response but rather to demonstrate how an internationally relevant issue within architecture today is addressed by Australian practitioners.