2016 Venice Biennale: New Zealand exhibition creative director announced

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Exhibition proposal: ‘Future Islands’.

Exhibition proposal: ‘Future Islands’. Image: New Zealand Institute of Architects

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New Zealand's exhibition, <i>Last Loneliest Loveliest</i>, at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

New Zealand’s exhibition, Last Loneliest Loveliest, at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image: John Gollings

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From left: Dr Charles Walker, Pip Cheshire, His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello – Ambassador of Italy, Tony van Raat.

From left: Dr Charles Walker, Pip Cheshire, His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello – Ambassador of Italy, Tony van Raat. Image: Chris Coad

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Tony van Raat presents a bottle of Amisfield wine to His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello – Ambassador of Italy.

Tony van Raat presents a bottle of Amisfield wine to His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello – Ambassador of Italy. Image: Chris Coad

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The New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) has announced that Charles Walker, associate professor in AUT University’s Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies and director of Colab, AUT’s multi-disciplinary research institution, has been appointed as creative director of the New Zealand Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The announcement was made at the Wellington residence of His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello, Ambassador of Italy, on 6 May.

Dr Charles Walker, associate professor, AUT University – Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies. Image:  New Zealand Institute of Architects

Dr Walker’s exhibition proposal was selected by an NZIA jury which considered 15 submissions, from teams based in New Zealand and overseas, in the competition to decide this country’s official entry in the world’s leading architecture event.  

The creative team led by Dr Walker and exhibition associate director Kathy Waghorn, of the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, includes architects Jessica Barter, Maggie Carroll, Jonathan Rennie and Rewi Thompson, model maker Minka Ip, exhibition builder Stephen Brookbanks, and video production specialists Bruce Ferguson and Emma Wolf.

Tony van Raat, the Commissioner of the New Zealand Exhibition for the NZIA, said Dr Walker’s scheme is an engaging proposition that promises to stand out among the 70 national exhibitions expected to be staged at next year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.            

“This is only the second time New Zealand has entered a national exhibition in the Venice Architecture Biennale and we want to build on the success of our inaugural exhibition in 2014,” van Raat said.

New Zealand’s exhibition, Last Loneliest Loveliest, at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image:  John Gollings

“The Biennale is the best place to showcase New Zealand’s architecture and our creative talent and technological ability. It’s also an opportunity to consider what is different about our country.”

Dr Walker said his team’s exhibition, titled “Future Islands”, is ideally positioned to investigate and present the topic of New Zealand’s particular condition and its difference.

“Islands have always provided real sites for different ways of living, and imaginary sites for possible ways of living differently,” Walker said. “Historically, they have inspired romantic and utopian narratives, and they have always been, literally, places of discovery.”     

“In this spirit, we want our exhibition to present contemporary innovative architectural practice in New Zealand. We also want to explore possible future directions for New Zealand’s architecture.”

The Venice Architecture Biennale will open in mid-2016, and continue until November.


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