Originally published in The Local Project, by Rose Onans, 27 May 2018
The Australia Pavilion at the Sixteenth International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia has seen 10,000 plants become part of a multi-sensory living installation.
Repair, by creative directors Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright of Baracco+Wright Architects in collaboration with artiest Linda Tegg, considers the impact of built environments on natural systems.
Installed both inside and outside the pavilion, the plants include 65 species from the Western Plains Grasslands. Just one percent of these threatened species remain in their native ecosystem, and their presence in the installation serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of occupying land. By transforming the pavilion into a living field of vegetation, the curators have created a space where visitors can experience the relationship between architecture and the living environment. ‘The use of land for buildings is no small act’, say Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright, ‘there is a role for architecture to actively engage with the places it is part of: the soil, hydrology, habitat, microorganisms and so on’.
Creating a physical dialogue between built and natural environment, Repair begins a conversation about the role of architecture and the kind of strategic and creative cross-disciplinary approach that will be necessary for architecture to play a role in restoration. While Australia’s buildings and cities have tended to separate people from nature, Repair envisions a future where a sustainable relationship between buildings and nature is the first step in enacting wider social, economic and cultural repair.
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