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Venice Architecture Biennale: LAVA in two exhibitions


Australian-German firm Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) will feature its works in two exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale in June 2014.

While its creative green project will be featured in the ‘Alpitecture Meets Biennale – Topographic Structures’ exhibition at the Palazzo Bollani, its award‐winning solution for revitalising old buildings through re-skinning will be one of the eleven unbuilt projects in the ‘Augmented Australia’ exhibition at the virtual Australian Pavilion.


Talking about the ‘Alpitecture Meets Biennale’ project, Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA Berlin said, “Inside our spatial hollow, inspired by Irving’s sleepy hollow tale, are some of LAVA’s key green projects. Mirrored, recycled cardboard creates a layered, topographic structure that is choreographed by the viewer. Every move creates a new visual perception fusing contextual relationships and dynamic conditions – a trademark of LAVA’s projects.”

Speaking about their award‐winning Tower Skin project, Chris Bosse, Asia Pacific director of LAVA, said, “To exhibit unbuilt buildings in an unbuilt pavilion is a genius idea of the curators. While the tower concept references the Sydney Opera House sails, nature, the harbour and all that is Sydney, it also addresses global issues such as timescales of fashion and technology and future proofing of buildings.”


Alpitecture Meets Biennale – Topographic Structures

Inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, LAVA’s installation is a ‘spatial hollow’ made of cardboard boxes, a layered, topographic structure with information on four key green projects at various scales.


Three mirrored canyons feature images, geometric patterns based on nature’s systems, mirrors and cardboard that can be choreographed by the viewer. Every move creates a new visual perception fusing contextual relationships and dynamic conditions – a trademark of LAVA’s projects.

Featured inside the hollow are some of LAVA’s key green projects: a research and innovation campus for KACST in Riyadh, the mixed‐use development The: Square in Berlin, Bonn’s Green Climate Fund and the Jeju Island resort in Korea.

The exhibition also includes Hadid, Graft and Blauraum Architekten.


Augmented Australia, Australian Pavilion

LAVA’s Tower Skin, a proposal to revitalise a generic style 1960s modernist building by re-skinning it with a lightweight membrane envelope, engages with the broader Venice Biennale theme of national identity and modernity.

It highlights how local characteristics were erased in favour of a single modern language in the 1960s. But where local identity is erased in the tower, ‘Tower Skin’ brings it back.


The speculative proposal to re‐shape the UTS tower in Sydney has broader applications for re‐purposing inefficient or outdated buildings across the globe (with their huge financial and environmental expense). Surface tension allows a high tech membrane to freely stretch around the building transforming the identity, sustainability and interior comfort. The transparent cocoon acts as a high performance ‘micro climate’.

Australia’s temporary pavilion, the Cloud Space, has trigger images of 21 built and unbuilt projects including ‘Tower Skin’.



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