The Australian Pavilion – Venice

Design Architect: Frank Godsell
Project Team: Patricia Corrigan & Frank Godsell

In close consultation with the Australasian Arts Council, Godsell & Corrigan have designed the next incarnation of the Australian Pavilion in Venice. This project continues our interest in the confluence of natural and man-made artefacts, drawing inspiration from the sprawling roofscapes of McMansion suburbia to create an icon reminiscent of the monolithic heart at the centre of our great nation: Uluru.

The New Australian Pavilion along the giardini canal in Venice

Our pavilion concerns itself equally with both the beautiful and the grotesque, pervasive as they are in the Australian psyche. It captures the country’s natural splendour and its mythology, yet doesn’t forget the expanding suburban waistlines that threaten to crowd our natural treasures. Dangerously, it examines the hypothetical moment when Uluru itself is colonised by suburban interests. Not a project of optimistic speculation, but rather a careful look at who we are today and what it is we may become; a fitting backdrop for our nation’s artists and architects to examine the most pressing issues of our age.

Like the famous underground settlements of Coober Pedy, the pavilion itself is mostly subterranean, with over 1350m2 of flexible exhibition space and a media room in the basement.

The Australian pavilion has been kindly funded by the Chinese government, who are referring to it as ‘The Palace of Earthly Prosperity’. In honour of the Chinese, a pair of golden lions will flank the pavilion’s entrance. As such, there will be times when Australia will not have use of the pavilion, in which case a ‘Nomadic Annexe’, with a nod to both our nomadic ancestors and the all-Australian caravan holiday, conveniently attaches to either of the American or British pavilions. While too small in itself to exhibit any content, it ensures Australia maintains a presence at the biennale, even if somewhat diminished.


When the Australian Pavilion is occupied by the Chinese, the 'Nomadic Annexe' can attach to the U.S. or British Pavilions

The 'Nomadic Annexe' temporarily attached to the British Pavilion

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8 Responses to The Australian Pavilion – Venice

  1. Nigel Souter says:

    I take extreme offence at the Aboriginal pavilion being separate from the main Australian pavilion. An utter disgrace!

  2. Philip Yeung says:

    Beautiful and poetic. Well done G&C!

  3. Garry Nervo says:

    This is just plain ugly. Are we seriously representing ourselves with ‘the sprawling roofscapes of McMansion suburbia’?? This has got to be a joke.

  4. High time. Finally a replacement for that awful Cox box!

  5. Helen Fisher says:

    I know economists have been joking that Australia is the 23rd province of China, but isn’t this taking things too far? Surely the AAC can fund the Australian Pavilion without outside help. Chinese lions at the gates to Uluru is wrong on so many levels.

  6. This is just the kind of superficial design bullshit we’ve come to expect from the architecture profession. How does the pavilion actually work? Can you even hang art on those sloping walls?? Architects getting off on their own pretty pictures. Get your hand off it.

  7. Inspired, and so very of the moment. Keep up the good work, G&C.

  8. Oliver Sudden says:

    Best architects in Australia

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