The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) will present Repair at the Australian Pavilion during the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Creative Directors Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright of Baracco+Wright Architects, in collaboration with artist Linda Tegg, have curated a multi-sensory living installation for the Pavilion, designed to disrupt the viewing conditions through which architecture is usually understood.
The curators will install ten thousand plans inside and outside of the Pavilion, including 65 species of Western Plains Grasslands. This component of the exhibition, entitled Grasslands Repair, will serve as a reminder of what is at stake when we occupy land – just one percent of these threatened species are left in their native ecosystem. The Pavilion will be transformed into a field of vegetation, allowing visitors to enter a physical dialogue between architecture and the endangered plant community.
Alongside this, Linda Tegg and Baracco+Wright Architects have made an experimental video series, entitled Ground, showcasing fifteen Australian projects that unpack diverse iterations of repair, which will be projected inside the Pavilion. A third installation, Skylight, will incorporate lighting to simulate the sun’s energy required to sustain the plants inside the Pavilion. Through each of these works, the curators aim to provoke a rethinking of how we value and therefore create the built environment.
Addressing the theme of Freespace set by curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara for the Biennale Architettura 2018, Repair will address the call ‘to stimulate discussion on core architectural values’ and validate the ‘relevance of architecture on this dynamic planet’. It will focus on architecture that integrates built and natural systems to effect repair of the environment, and in so doing, mend or improve other societal, economic and cultural conditions. Through this lens, this exhibition will provoke new relevance and roles for architecture.
Australia’s buildings and cityscapes have largely been constructed to separate people from the natural environment. Consequences of this disregard are now being felt, resulting in a shift in thinking amongst built environment disciplines, towards repairing the natural environment as a framework for urban form. Repair aims to advocate a role for architecture among the many players it takes to restore something.
Curators Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright said: “We have often struggled with our relationship as architects when considering the use of land – it’s no small act. We believe there is a role for architecture to actively engage with the repair of the places it is part of, which our exhibition will communicate. We hope the discussion we’re presenting will engage the profession and initiate a legacy of the Biennale Architettura 2018.”