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- Architect Denton Corker Marshall
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The Australia Council has announced that Denton Corker Marshall has been appointed to design the new Australian pavilion for the Venice Art and Architecture Biennales.
DCM’s design was unanimously chosen by the selection panel from the shortlist of proposals submitted by John Wardle Architects, Johnson Pilton Walker, Bud Brannigan Architects, Peter Stutchbury Architecture and Sean Godsell Architects.
In their submission, DCM stated their intention was “to make a form of the utmost simplicity; a white box contained within a black box. The pavilion is envisaged as an object rather than a building; a presence that is simultaneously powerful and discreet within the heavily wooded gardens.”
AIA President and selection panellist Brian Zulaikha described the design as “a striking, perhaps timeless addition to the Giardini. Handsome and sculpturally bold, its skilful simplicity creates an inspiring and limitless space for artists and audiences.”
The new, two-storey pavilion will have a footprint of 320sqm, and will replace the current Australian pavilion – one of only 29 national pavilions located inside the Giardini, designed by Philip Cox in 1988. The new building’s moody, charcoal exterior will be clad in South Australian black granite, contrasting the white interior and polished concrete floors of the gallery interior. “Free from affectation and obvious nationalistic statement, it is a powerful, confident yet discreet object,” says the practice.
DCM principal John Denton, who is also Chair of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, said: “Venice holds a special place in the arts and architecture worlds so it’s very exciting for us to win this project. I believe it will be a building that will proudly represent Australia and be recognised as a powerful, confident addition to the pavilions in the Giardini.”
DCM will bring considerable experience to the project, with previous cultural projects including the Melbourne Museum and the Museum of Sydney, as well as a number of international public projects such as the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Manchester Civil Justice Centre and Australian Embassies in Tokyo, Beijing and Jakarta.
Chair of the Australia Council, James Strong AO, said of the winning entry: “We are inspired by their creative vision, confident in their ability and excited by the potential for a truly exemplary building all Australians will be proud of.”
The Australia Council’s plans to redesign the Australian pavilion in Venice have at times been marred by dissatisfaction with the competition process. Initially announced an invitation only competition in June 2011, the Australia Council amended the competition format in August – adopting a two-stage format, with expressions of interest open to all Australian architects. Six firms were then announced as finalists for the second stage of the competition in November 2011.
Work on the new pavilion is expected to commence following the 2013 Art Biennale, with completion due in time for the 2015 Art Biennale. Managed by the Australia Council, the project is expected to cost $6 million – with all funds sourced from the private sector.