The curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2018, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, have announced the title Freespace. They have asked participants to “encourage reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well being and dignity of each citizen on this fragile planet”. Responding to this call Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright of Baracco+Wright Architects will collaborate with artist Linda Tegg to present Repair, a living installation inside the Australian Pavilion that will disrupt the viewing conditions through which we understand architecture and the land it occupies. The broader team supporting the Creative Directors includes architect Paul Memmott, landscape architect Chris Sawyer, landscape architect and urban designer Tim O’Loan, ecologist David Freudenberger, curatorial advisor Catherine Murphy, architect Lance van Maanen and graduate of architecture Jonathan Ware.
Repair will address Farrell and McNamara’s call “to stimulate discussion on core architectural values”  and to validate the “relevance of architecture on this dynamic planet” under their theme Freespace, by focusing on architecture that integrates built and natural systems to effect repair of the environment, and in so doing, repair of other conditions. Through this lens, this exhibition provokes new relevance and roles for architecture.
Mauro and Louise invited a team of people they felt would help them reflect on architecture from unconventional positions so that the theme of repair could be explored deeply. Through the team’s expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, ecology, indigenous culture and conceptual thinking a diverse filter can be applied to the gaps, possibilities and issues facing Australian architects who work cheek by jowl in one of the most diverse and ecologically and culturally sensitive landscapes in the world to create architecture not yet fully imagined.
Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright, Creative Directors
Mauro Baracco is a practicing architect and a director of Baracco+Wright Architects. He has a PhD in Architecture from and is also an Associate Professor at RMIT University in the School of Architecture and Design, Melbourne, Australia where he was the Deputy Dean of Landscape Architecture (2013-15) and is currently the Deputy Dean of International.
Louise Wright is a practicing architect and a director of Baracco+Wright Architects founded in 2004. She has a PhD in Architecture from and also is a sessional lecturer in design at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
Baracco+Wright’s architectural practice combines the academic and practice world and is shifting more and more towards landscape based approaches that effect and catalyse environmental repair through decisions of siting, ground plane, hydrology and other ecological conditions.
Together with Louise they seek opportunities to position architecture in a catalytic role that places the architect in the role of strategic thinker across disciplinary boundaries. Over the past 10 years they have developed this approach through research projects throughout the Wimmera region in Western Victoria, Australia, “Regenerated Towns: Regenerated Nature”, connecting environmental repair undertaken by Greening Australia in their project Habitat 141 with environmental, social and economic repair through strategic and integrated architectural and landscape works in the towns that lie within and around this project. The design based research they carry out informs their practice. Their work has been described as quietly radical.
Linda Tegg works with photography, performance, video, and installation to investigate the contingent viewing conditions through which we orient ourselves in the world. Her work has been extensively exhibited in Australia, Mexico, The United States, and Europe. Tegg was the Samstag Scholar of 2014 and The Georges Mora Foundation Fellow of 2012. Linda is currently a Lecturer in Creative Practice at Deakin University, and the inaugural Artist In Residence at the School of Geography at The University of Melbourne.
Tim O’Loan is an urban designer and landscape architect, having worked for a leading practice in the United Kingdom and a large, highly innovative global architectural group he now leads the Design Practice across Australia and New Zealand for AECOM.
Tim has spent most of the past decade building a team focused on developing forward-thinking urban policy and development strategies that underpin world-class infrastructure that enhances the environment, equity, and economy of our cities.
Tim contributes to industry journals and lectures and teaches at universities and institutes worldwide. Tim is a passionate advocate for continuous improvement in the practice environmental sustainability, particularly water sensitive urban design and water cycle management. He sees that there is an increasing need for landscape architects and urban designers to engage with social equity, access to employment, housing, food and water; this is the next frontier for city makers of all types.
Since joining AECOM in 2008, he has worked on significant national and international integrated developments and master planning projects in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe – from planning for new communities and townships to designing town centres and public spaces.
Chris Sawyer together with Susie Kumar are Landscape Architects and the founding directors of Site Office and, Chris is an Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture at RMIT University.
Site Office is a landscape architectural and urban design practice that works primarily with local government and state government organisations with the goal of crafting beautiful places for animals, plants and people to thrive.
Site Office have created and developed a number of projects that hover over and through special terrain, of traditional owners, fragmented ecologies and disturbed landscapes to aid humans’ connection with nature, and aid the preservation and restoration of nature.
Professor Paul Memmott is a trans-disciplinary researcher (architect/anthropologist) and the Director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre (AERC) and the Indigenous Design Place Initiative at the University of Queensland where he is affiliated with the School of Architecture and the Institute of Social Science Research.
The AERC field of research encompasses the cross-cultural study of the people-environment relations of Indigenous peoples with their natural and built environments. Research interests encompass Aboriginal housing and settlement design, Aboriginal access to institutional architecture, Indigenous constructs of place, cultural landscapes and cultural heritage, vernacular architecture and Native Title, social planning in Indigenous communities and sustainable remote-area buildings and villages.
David has a diverse research career as an ecologist. He joined CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology in 1991 to conduct grazing management research in the rangelands of eastern Australia which built on his expertise in kangaroos and goats. By 2000, CSIRO shifted research focus from eastern rangelands to agricultural landscapes dominated by woodlands. This led him to research on the impact of landscape fragmentation on woodland bird assemblages and other taxa. In such highly cleared landscapes restoration is a priority, so he led a number of research projects on the ecosystem services derived from government supported native plantings in southern NSW. This research put him in contact with the NGO, Greening Australia, which he joined in 2007 as Chief Scientist. There his collaborative research projects included effectiveness and cost of revegetation technologies, carbon sequestration measurement and modelling, biofuels from native species, and the benefits of biochar application for improving restoration effectiveness. He joined the Fenner School in 2012 to continue his current research in applied restoration practice and lecture in management of forested landscapes.
Catherine Murphy is an academic in the Department of Architecture at Monash University, where she coordinates the new Masters of Urban Planning and Design. Her current research is exploring how alternative design and planning processes could address climate change impacts on cities, as part of a project for the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. She has a background in urban and cultural planning, and has worked as a program manager, curator and writer/editor.
Lance van Maanen
Lance van Maanen is a practicing architect based in Melbourne with experience across a wide range of project types in Australia. With a focus on modes of architectural representation, Lance embraces a range of three dimensional techniques to enhance an understanding of the built form and environment with a particular interest in immersive technologies that bridge the physical and immaterial worlds. Lance contributes to architectural education through teaching and critiquing as a sessional tutor at RMIT university, and has been published in various industry journals.
Jonathan is a practitioner, a design studio leader in the masters programs of Landscape Architecture and Architecture, and a researcher at D_Lab – Centre of Design Practice Research at RMIT University, Melbourne.
His work focuses on the interfaces between climate change, urbanisation and the environment and challenges the perceived boundaries between artificial and natural conditions. Jonathan’s research investigates across multiple scales of design, expanding beyond isolated sites into civic, urban and territorial networks.
The Creative Directors are calling upon Australian architects, urban designers and landscape architects to submit designs that have been conceived in relationship with their ecosystem to effect repair be it civic, social, cultural, economic or environmental. From these, a selection that displays a range of approaches, scales and geographic locations will be selected for inclusion in the exhibition.
Submissions must respond to the theme Repair.
The call is open to Australian architects and collaborations between architects, urban designers and landscape architects. Teams of multi-disciplinary practitioners are welcomed. The team or collaborations must include one architect who is a member of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Works can be built or unbuilt, contemporary or historical architecture or various architecture/urban/landscape/infrastructural multi-disciplinary combinations.
Works can be of any scale, context or program.
They need not necessarily incorporate vegetation or open space but must be catalysing or actively repairing the natural environment in some way, directly or remotely, and thereby potentially contributing to other types of repair such as civic, social, cultural and economic, among others.
The Creative Directors are interested in demonstrating a role for architecture as an agent of repair, or as part of a broader team that repairs the site they occupy. The site may be the immediate context or may be a large scale urban or natural system that the project effects through the action of the small scale within the large scale.
The selection process will be carried out in one stage by the Creative Directors of 10-20 projects taking into consideration their aim to represent a geographic, scale and project-type mix. Projects that are selected will be visited and documented by the Creative Directors for exhibition at the Biennale. They will also be included in the official Australian Pavilion Catalogue. Some projects that are not selected for exhibition may be included in an online exhibition.
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