Last, Loneliest, Loveliest

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The sides of the fabric ‘tent’ are imprinted with images showing the Pacific tradition of building, and its arrival and evolution in New Zealand.

The sides of the fabric ‘tent’ are imprinted with images showing the Pacific tradition of building, and its arrival and evolution in New Zealand. Image: John Gollings

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Looking through the tent-like structure that is the main element of the exhibition.

Looking through the tent-like structure that is the main element of the exhibition. Image: John Gollings

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Whatarangi, carved by Tristan Marler.

Whatarangi, carved by Tristan Marler. Image: John Gollings

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Palazzo Pisani, Cannaregio, the site of the New Zealand Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition.

Palazzo Pisani, Cannaregio, the site of the New Zealand Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition. Image: John Gollings

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Illustrations by Kim Meek showing Pacific migration routes.

Illustrations by Kim Meek showing Pacific migration routes. Image: John Gollings

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Models and illustrative panels by Frances Cooper making the case for an alternative and more ‘Pacific’ way of inhabiting the Auckland waterfront.

Models and illustrative panels by Frances Cooper making the case for an alternative and more ‘Pacific’ way of inhabiting the Auckland waterfront. Image: John Gollings

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A small tower points to the development of light-weight, post-tensioned timber construction technologies in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

A small tower points to the development of light-weight, post-tensioned timber construction technologies in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Image: John Gollings

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The creative team behind <em>Last, Loneliest, Loveliest</em>.

The creative team behind Last, Loneliest, Loveliest. Image: Jane Ussher

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A view of the Auckland War Memorial Museum towards the Māori court in 1929.

A view of the Auckland War Memorial Museum towards the Māori court in 1929. Image: Supplied

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The extension to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia, 2012.

The extension to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia, 2012. Image: Mannering & Donaldson

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The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, 2013.

The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, 2013. Image: Patrick Reynolds

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A concept sketch for the New Zealand Exhibition at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale by Julie Stout, 2014.

A concept sketch for the New Zealand Exhibition at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale by Julie Stout, 2014. Image: Mitchell & Stout Architects

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A view of the Auckland War Memorial Museum from Mechanics Bay in 1929.

A view of the Auckland War Memorial Museum from Mechanics Bay in 1929. Image: Supplied

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The University of Canterbury Student Union Building in Christchurch designed by Warren & Mahoney, 1967.

The University of Canterbury Student Union Building in Christchurch designed by Warren & Mahoney, 1967. Image: Mannering & Donaldson

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For the first time ever, New Zealand will exhibit at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which begins June 7. To represent the country, the New Zealand Institute of Architects selected a team lead by architect David Mitchell of Mitchell & Stout to send to the renouned exhibition.

The 14th biannual event’s theme is Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, to which the team has responded with Last, Loneliest, Loveliest – a walk through the annals of New Zealand architecture. It embraces Pacific architecture and the complicated story of modernity in New Zealand, says Mitchell. “For much of last century, we were carrying a lot of British imperial baggage. We’ve slowly shucked that off. Also, the relations between Mãori and Europeans in New Zealand are now richer and far more interwoven than they were.”

The installation, named by Wallpaper* Magazine as one of the top 25 exhibitions to visit, includes buildings familiar to New Zealanders, such as the Cardboard Cathedral, Auckland Art Gallery, the Futuna Chapel and Miles Warren buildings from the 1960s. 

The installation will hang from the ceiling of Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina until 23 November 2014. For more on the New Zealand’s exhibition in Venice, click here


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