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The Australia Council for the Arts has announced the six architecture firms shortlisted for the redevelopment of the Australian pavilion in Venice.
The six firms are:
* Bud Brannigan Architects
* Denton Corker Marshall
* John Wardle Architects
* Johnson Pilton Walker
* Peter Stutchbury Architecture
* Sean Godsell Architects
The six firms have been selected from a pool of 67 Expressions of Interest (EOI) lodged by Australian architects, which marked the first stage of the design competition. These six firms were selected based on their “demonstrated capability, suitability, experience and skills to undertake this project,” said Rose Hiscock, Executive Director of Arts Development at the Australia Council.
All six firms will now proceed to Stage Two of the competition, which requires that each firm submit a comprehensive tender proposal to the design brief – with a winner announced in March 2012.
The shortlist was selected by a judging panel including Luca Belgiorno-Nettis AM (Joint Managing Director of Transfield Holdings; Chair, Biennale of Sydney); Doug Hall AM (Australian Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2011; former Director, Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art 1987-2007); Kathy Keele (CEO, Australia Council for the Arts); Simon Mordant (Australian Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2013; Chair, Museum of Contemporary Art); and Brian Zulaikha (President, Australian Institute of Architects; Director, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects).
Brian Zulaikha said of the process thus far: “There was an incredibly diverse range of interest, from sole practitioners to large Australian architectural organisations, and the selection of a shortlist was difficult. We believe we have chosen a truly talented group of firms which represents a breadth of architectural excellence.”
The Australia Council caused a furore when it announced plans in June to manage the redevelopment of the pavilion, which is used for the Australian exhibitions at the Venice Art and Architecture Biennales, by holding an invitation-only competition. This announcement was met with accusations of elitism, and a petition signed by over 750 people calling instead for an open competition.
In response, the competition was remodelled into a two-stage format, with EOIs open to all Australian architects, and the shortlist selected by a judging panel. Though this revised format follows the AIA competition guidelines, the Australia Council continued to attract criticism for excluding emerging practices by stipulating that entrants have experience designing a public art gallery and working internationally.
The cost of the pavilion is estimated at $4-6 million, with funds sourced from the private sector. The winning proposal is due to be announced in March 2012, with the new pavilion complete in time for the Venice Art Biennale in 2015.
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