Biennale Brilliance


7 The Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 launches on May 28. For only the second time, New Zealand is involved, and Junction is excited to report that two local creatives have solid roles in our exhibition.

The theme of the Biennale, chosen this year by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, is Reporting from the Front. The focus is on what architecture can do to improve living conditions globally.

The NZ installation is called Future Islands and consists of twenty-two 3D ‘islands’ made of lightweight composite materials, some of them several metres across. These will be suspended from the ceiling of the Palazzo Bollani in Venice. They were made by Tim Smyth’s innovative team at Core Builders Composites, the Warkworth-based company that built the America’s Cup racing yacht.


Either on or suspended around these islands will be over 100 models of buildings created by architecture practices and students from around the country. “The exhibition expresses the diversity of contemporary New Zealand architecture, and of New Zealand society,” says creative director Charles Walker (Co-Director of the Colab research unit at AUT University). “Islands hold the promise of alternative ways of living, which are now more attractive and more necessary than ever.”

An extra creative element is involved too: projections of moving images. Warkworth creative Bruce Ferguson (see our article on his company Darkroom in this issue) told us: “We’ll be projecting on to four of the islands. There’ll be some clouds and water reflections, but on one of the bigger islands (based on the Auckland Isthmus), we’re mapping rolling hills with volcanic cones and roaming cows. It evolves to be covered by sprawling urbanisation – but then is submerged under rising sea levels.”

The six-month long Biennale attracts quarter of a million visitors. 88 participants from 37 countries are involved – it’s regarded as the Olympics of architecture. Happily, a little piece of Warkworth will be there, too.

NZ –  |  Italy –