Studio leaders: Scott Woods & Alan Pert
The Venice Biennale (La Biennale Di Venezia) is the world’s premier international cultural festival. Since its inaugural Art Biennale in 1895, the Venice Biennale has grown to incorporate recurring festivals of Art, Architecture, Dance, Music, Cinema and Theatre in locations throughout Venice, Italy.
The first Venice Architecture Biennale (La Biennale Architettura) was held under the direction of famed Italian architect and theorist Paolo Portoghesi in 1980. Thereafter directors including Aldo Rossi (1985 and 1986), Kazuyo Sejima (2010) and Rem Koolhaas (2014) helped forge the festival’s formidable reputation as a generator and proliferator of new discourses of architecture globally. Such is the importance of La Biennale Architettura a who’s-who and who-wants-to-be of world architecture collide on the famed pavements of Piazza San Marco, Ponte di Rialto and Punta della Dogana to soak in vast swathes of exhibition, performance and discussion with established and emerging international architects, urbanists, theorists, curators, scholars and many from outside the discipline.
The 2018 Venice Travelling Studio provided students with the ideal means to observe, document and critically engage with the vanguard of contemporary curatorial practices which are re-defining architectural exhibition making, representation, publicity, museology, and indeed the role of the architect today. These observations and analyses were supported by themes of New Institutionalism (the global proliferation of the temporary festival phenomenon – the Venice Biennale being only one), Identity and Curatorship particularly within the context of Venetian practices and the work of Carlo Scarpa renowned for his many fine modernist buildings within the Veneto region.
The Venice Travelling Studio positioned students within the best possible context to cite, investigate and propose new paradigms for the realisation of architecture as curatorial condition.
To observe and analyse the inter-disciplinary and curatorial role of the architect students visited:
The two primary areas of the Biennale: Giardini (containing the Australian Pavilion and other national pavilions) + Arsenale (containing the major invited exhibitors) + other collateral events and exhibitions throughout Venice.
The works of Carlo Scarpa inc., Querini Stampalia House Museum, Olivetti Typewriter Store, IUAV Institute of Architecture, Canova Museum and Castelvecchio Museum in Verona.
Studio leaders: Ray Green & Antonia Besa Lehmann
This studio will brought together students of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design from the University of Melbourne to work collaboratively with students from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC), in Santiago, Chile. The aim of the studio was to expose students to a complex urban project while at the same time exposing them to unfamiliar cultures, places and people, all aimed at stimulating their ability to think creatively and solve problems from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Santiago is the capital city of Chile and located in a valley surrounded by mountains, with the Andes Mountains to the east and the Coastal Range to the west. Integrated within the urban fabric are 26 “island hills”. Given their size and relationship to other natural elements, these hills offer the possibility of shaping a matrix of open spaces within the city to interconnect recreational and other types of land-uses with natural systems. Many of these hills are in areas of the city that have limited green space and this presents an opportunity to reverse the inequality in the accessibility to green areas within Santiago for people living there. Many of these Island Hills are in areas with lower socio-economic demographics and typically have poor-quality, if any, formal parks and other community facilities. Furthermore, local municipalities responsible for management of these public spaces often lack the financial resources to develop them, hence they are mostly left in an undeveloped state. This presents a unique opportunity for the design of more planned developments, such as areas for passive recreation, urban agriculture and other possible uses.
Students worked with local communities, local governments and NGO’s (e.g. Santiago Cerros Isla Foundation) in exploring the design potential for one or more of these “island hills”. This initially involved research into the design possibilities presented by these Island Hills in terms of their ecological, social and cultural attributes at multiple scales of the environment. In addition to the intensive work that was undertaken during the travel component in Chile, students also participated in a series of design workshops, both before and after the travel component of the studio.