Augmented Australia 1914 – 2014

Augmented Australia 1914 - 2014 at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia: a virtual journey through some of Australia’s most intriguing unrealised projects. Words by Elana Castle

04 Apr 2014

With Australia’s permanent pavilion under construction and only due for completion in time for the 56th Venice International Art Exhibition in 2015, the Australian architectural committee found themselves without a pavilion for the first time since Phillip Cox’s temporary structure was opened in 1988.

The question arose as to how Australian would be represented in its temporary, open-air Giardini location at the upcoming Architecture Biennale in June.

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Harry Seidler, Olympic Stadium, Princes Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Competition Entry 1952. Digital Reconstruction by Daniel Giuffre and Paul Sawyer. Courtesy: felix.

In response, The Australian Institute of Architects, who have been pivotal in Australia’s attendance at the Biennale since 2006, selected a creative team to spearhead the campaign which includes Rene van Meeuwen, Matt Delroy-Carr and Craig McCormack from felix. – a multi-disciplinary, Perth-based design company – along with Sophie Giles, Winthrop Professor Simon Anderson and Professor Philip Goad.

“The theme of this year’s festival (curated by Rem Koolhaas) is ‘Fundamentals’ with a particular focus on the sometimes competing, sometimes complimentary forces of regionalism and globalisation,” says De Meeuwen.  “Koolhaas poses the question as to whether we can revitalise the historical richness inherent in regional architecture.”

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Pier Luigi Nervi, Antonio Nervi, Carlo Vannoni and Francesco Vacchini, Cathedral, Abbey and Benedictine Monastery, 1958, New Norcia, Western Australia, Australia. Digital reconstruction by Matt Delroy-­‐Carr, Keith Reid, Scott Horsburgh. Courtesy: felix.

felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad’s response to Koolhaas’s provocative approach is an exhibition entitled “Augmented Australia 1914-2014”, a virtual bringing to life of a selection of most evocative, unbuilt works designed in Australia within the last century.  “Each project was driven by an extraordinary commitment to research and innovation, highlighting Australia’s exceptional heritage and its commitment to a technological future,” explains De Meeuwen.

The exhibition  space for “Augmented Australia” will take the form of a large steel cloud that will appear to hover above the earth, providing a physical portal to an “augmented reality” experience.

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Sophie Giles, University of Western Australia, Cloud Space, Australian temporary pavilion, 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.

Leveraging the latest technology, the team have developed an app which will bring all the projects to life via 3-dimensional augmented models, images, voiceovers and animations.  Once visitors have downloaded the ‘Augmented Australia’ app they will be able to  trigger augmented models of each project while ‘real world scale’ 3D models will be geo-positioned around Venice.

The app – called Augmented Australia – once downloaded, will trigger 3-d augmented images of the projects that will be shown at the exhibition. Currently, this app will only work with three trigger images which will ‘come alive’ when you activate the ‘Start 2D Trigger’ function on the app and point your smart phone at the images.

Hero Image: Minifie van Schaik, Caught Unawares, 2013, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Digital reconstruction by Ben Juckes. Courtesy: felix.

Augmented Australia
wp.architecture.com.au/venicebiennale