Waiting for the new Australian pavilion


Despite eternal controversy to the organization of Biennale di Venezia and the numerous doubts expressed towards its real utility as an international event in the internet era, the Italian istitution shows to still be able to keep its cultural appealing.

A sign of its credibility is the proposal announced by the Australian Council to organize the redevelopment of the Australian pavilion at Biennale di Venezia, after it secured a significant donation to help fund the project.

The current pavilion, a pre-fabricated structure designed by Philip Cox in 1988, was intended to be a temporary space in order to organize exhibitions inside Venice’s Giardini. The building has been used for the Australian exhibitions since then. There have already been several campaigns in support of a new pavilion, including the Di Stasio Ideas Competition in 2008.

The Australian Council has recently proposed to organize a national competition by invitation for a new pavilion, an idea not welcomed by the Australian architects, who see it as a discriminatory criteria of selection. The degree of disappointment is so high, to have pushed an architect from Canberra to consider: “By invitation… what’s going on here? Where has the Australian spirit of egalitarianism and the fair go gone? Would Griffin, Utzon or Giurgola have gotten invitations to their competitions?”.

Meanwhile, the debate keep on going…

by Silvia Micheli

Brisbane, 9th September 2011