Australia’s first pavilion for the Venice Biennale art and architecture festival has been dismantled to make room for a new one that will open at next year’s event.
The Australia Council for the Arts, the Venice Biennale, and Philip Cox, the architect who designed the original building, have given permission for Italian restauranteur Rinaldo (Ronnie) Di Stasio to reconstruct the temporary pavilion on his property at Coldstream, northeast of Melbourne, Australia. The property is currently home to a winery.
The original pavilion has been dismantled and is being stored at Venice’s Lido. After the Yarras Ranges Council approves the reconstruction, it will be transported to Australia.
Cox designed the pavilion that was built at the Venice Biennale in 1988 in just a month. It was created to house an exhibition of paintings by Arthur Boyd and was intended to be dismantled and reassembled quickly at another site. Instead, it wound up staying there for 26 years.
The original pavilion was constructed along a canal in a prime location. It had a window that overlooked the canal, allowing visitors to look out at the water.
Venetian authorities encouraged the Australians to transport the pavilion to their country. The University of Melbourne was approached about using the old pavilion for its architecture students, but instead it was decided that it would be rebuilt on Di Stasio’s property. Di Stasio said Cox played a crucial role in the reconstruction project. He will allow Cox to decide where to rebuild the pavilion on the Coldstream property.
The new building was the result of a contest run by Di Stasio in 2008 looking for a design for a new Australian national pavilion. The new temporary building was designed by architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall.
The new pavilion will look like a simple cube of black granite. The roof and walls have been built, and the granite will be added in November. It will show Australian art and architecture on alternate years in a 16-square-meter gallery. The new pavilion will first showcase the work of Australia’s representative, Sydney-based artist Fiona Hall.
The new pavilion is on track to be finished by the beginning of the 56th Venice Biennale, which will be on May 9, 2015. Local builders have been working on weekends and holidays to get the construction finished on time.