UTS represents Australia at America’s inaugural Architecture Biennial
Academics and students at UTS’s School of Architecture will present the only two Australian projects at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Set to kick off on October 3, the three-month festival titled The State of the Art of Architecture is the first of its kind to be held in the USA.
“The Chicago Architecture Biennial is one of 2015’s big stories in global architecture,” said Professor Anthony Burke, head of UTS’s School of Architecture. “It aims to rival the Venice Biennale in scope. UTS’s inclusion points to Australia’s leadership in the critical practice around international urban environments.”
Representing UTS is Indo Pacific Atlas, a project developed by UTS academics Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna with their master's students. The other Australian representative in the biennial is Sydney design organisation otherothers, a UTS-connected team of Grace Mortlock, who tutors in the School of Architecture master's program, and associate of the school David Neustein.
A series of maps and installations, the Indo Pacific Atlas addresses the controversial decision to place Australia at the centre of the newly formed Indo-Pacific region.
“We were immediately interested in the architectural implications of this new location,” said Mr Grau. “Australia as a leader in this region now has the responsibility to understand the capital and social flow of these contrasting worlds.”
The study references the 2013 Australian Defence White Paper Indo-Pacific Strategic Arc, which relocated Australia to the centre of the region that includes East coast of Africa, West coast of South America, South East Asia and the Gulf. It looks specifically at the various planning structures and spatial challenges of six diverse cities represented within the region: Beirut, Cape Town, Medellin, Perth, Qatar and Valparaiso.
Over 4,000 photographs taken during field trips were transformed into a 10-metre collage. When juxtaposed, the visual masterpiece fosters synoptic insights into these thriving cities. A four-channel sound piece guides users through the historical journey of each city.
“Many of these cities have risen from trauma including Medellin in Columbia, which has transformed into a vibrant, cultural centre after its colourful drug trade past. Similarly Capetown in South Africa has reinvented itself following decades of apartheid and oppression,” continued Mr Grau.
The announcement rounds off an impressive year for Grau and Goberna whose practice Fake Industries Architectural Agonism was one of six groups shortlisted in the world’s biggest design competition – Guggenheim Helsinki.
Indo Pacific Atlas is the creation of UTS School of Architecture Senior Lecturer Urtzi Grau, and UTS Masters of Architecture (Research) students: Endriana Audisho, Christina Deluchi, Kane Pham and Gonzalo Valiente.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial will run from October 3, 2015 to January 3, 2016.