Denton Corker Marshall has won an international design competition to design the new Australian pavilion in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, the heart of the prestigious Venice Biennale events.
The new pavilion will be the first of the 21st century contributions to the Giardini, which is undergoing revitalisation by the Venice Biennale. It will replace Australia’s current pavilion, designed as a temporary structure by Philip Cox in 1988. Within a footprint of approximately 320 sq m, the two-level pavilion will provide a new flexible and adaptable exhibition space to showcase Australian visual arts and architecture to international audiences at annual biennales.
The winning design is of the utmost simplicity, architecturally expressed as a white box contained within a black box. The architects have avoided imposing a mannered architectural ‘event’ on the artworks displayed within, rather creating a container on and in which ideas can be explored where the container in no way competes with those ideas.
It is proposed that the matte charcoal finish of the exterior will be from South Australian black granite. The interior gallery walls are standard white, and the floor is polished concrete. Free from affectation and obvious nationalistic statement, it is a powerful, confident yet discrete object within the heavily wooded gardens.
Conceived as an object rather than a building, Director John Denton says the design continues the firm’s interest in small scale architecture that develop around themes of European intervention in the Australian landscape and architecture as land art.
Organised by the Australia Council for the Arts, the competition received sixty-seven entries, with six firms selected to progress to stage 2 of the competition, the selection panel was unanimous in its selection of Denton Corker Marshall’s design.