A re-imagined cubby house, a facade based on the filigree pattern of a moth’s wing, a ‘future shack’ made from a shipping container, a tattooed Aussie Rules football, a space science centre like the ‘spiralling arms of a birthing nebula’ and a luxury mixed-use building based on a snowflake for Michael Schumacher in Abu Dhabi, are just some of the architectural models showcased in the Australian Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale this year.

One hundred and eighty architectural practices from across Australia have created what they call ‘architectural artefacts’ for the exhibition. A garden of architectural artefacts is filled with three hundred interpretative models – ranging from abstract forms to architectural fragments – demonstrating what Australian architects are currently doing and thinking.

Participants were invited to create interpretative models based on an existing project in response to Venice Biennale director Aaron Betsky’s theme, ‘Out there: architecture beyond building’. The results are imagined futures that show the inventiveness, creativity and responsiveness of the architects.


In the upper gallery, immersive projections of buildings provide a kaleidoscope of moving images. Featuring eighty significant structures, from colonial constructions to recently completed projects, the images trace the threads that connect the last two hundred years with today’s practice.

The exhibition highlights Australia’s architectural diversity and is located in the Philip Cox–designed Australian Pavilion in Giardini, Venice. Creative directors are Neil Durbach, Vince Frost, Wendy Lewin, Kerstin Thompson and Gary Warner.

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