Venice Formations

Six innovative FORMATIONS to challenge international views of architectural practice
The Australian exhibition at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale

Six of Australia’s most innovative architecture practices have been selected to exhibit within the Formations exhibition at the Australian Pavilion during the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012.

Presented by the Australian Institute of Architects (‘the Institute’) and devised by Anthony Burke, Gerard Reinmuth and TOKO Concept Design, Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture aims to provoke debate about the changing role of architects and the ‘formations’ in which they practice.

Formations will showcase Australian architectural practices that are challenging conventional perceptions and definitions of what it is to be an architect and the possibilities for the profession to make significant contributions to new domains of work through innovative ‘practice formations’. The exhibition participates in the current global discussion about the evolution and future of practice, placing Australia’s most forward-thinking architects at the heart of this conversation.

In October 2011, the Institute issued an open call for expressions of interest from architects and architectural practices across the country. A total of 124 submissions were received, varying from practices working in architecture and city making to small strategic projects, objects, installations and media. Six innovative ‘practice formations’ have been selected:

Healthabitat (Paul Pholeros, Stephan Rainow, Paul Torzillo)
supermanoeuvre (Dave Pigram, Iain Maxwell, Chris Duffield)
Richard Goodwin Pty Ltd (Richard Goodwin)
2112 Ai (100YR City) (Tom Kovac, Fleur Watson)
The Architects Radio Show (Stuart Harrison, Simon Knott, Christine Phillips, Rory Hyde)
Archrival (Claire McCaughan, Lucy Humphrey).
Of the selection, the creative team said:

“The selected formations represent a range of possible futures for architectural practice. From engagement with humanitarian causes to the creation of specialised technology and education networks for advanced material cultures, Australia has a wealth of innovation in its architectural community.”

As the profession of architecture registers the pressure of new economic, social and cultural challenges, this exhibition attempts to address such questions as:

How do innovations in practice increase opportunities to shape the built environment, and create new futures for the discipline?
How do we educate potential and future architects in light of such innovations in practice?
How do you engage the public with these forms of unexpected architecture?
By exploring the design methodologies, configurations and output of the six selected groups, Formations intends to stimulate compelling discourse about the future of the profession and alternate forms of architectural practice both in Australia and internationally.

Creative Directors Burke and Reinmuth will work in close curatorial collaboration with TOKO Concept Design to develop the exhibition with members of the selected ‘practice formations’. Together they bring a wealth of experience in architectural practice and a deep understanding of evolutionary processes happening across the architectural profession.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is the most important international architecture event in the world, visited by thousands of the world’s most influential architects, designers, urban planners and critics, generating significant debate and commentary in both architectural press and wider media.

The Biennale is an opportunity to showcase Australian architecture internationally, highlighting the country’s varied expertise and growing reputation for progressive architecture.

The Institute has coordinated Australia’s presence at the Architecture Biennale since 2006 and is committed to supporting the event until at least 2016. The previous exhibition, NOW and WHEN: Australian Urbanism, attracted a record 93,000-plus visitors in 2010 and continues to travel the world as a touring exhibition.

The dates of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale are yet to be announced. It is expected to take place from September to November 2012.