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