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La Biennale di Venezia The 13th International Architecture Exhibition Common Ground 29th August – 25th November 2012

Anupama Kundoo : Wall House 1 : 1 A Proposal for the Arsenale Architecture in full scale. Celebrating the ‘hand’. Emphasizing material, technology, and sustainability.

The University of Queensland School of Architecture Brisbane, Australia


Background Information

The Venice Biennale has for over a century been one of the foremost prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its founding 1895, it has been at the forefront of research and the promotion of new artistic and cultural trends. History The Venice Biennale, originally a fine arts exhibition, dates back from 1895. In the 1930s the programme extended to include music, cinema, and theatre. It was not until 1980 that the first International Architecture Exhibition took place. Since then, the Biennale has cemented its presence as an influential protagonist within international architectural debate; with the ability to draw some of the most renowned and high profile exhibitors to Venice. This year’s contributors include a worldwide selection of contemporary Architecture offices: Theme 2012 “Common Ground” Artistic Direction The artistic director is appointed by the Biennale Board of Administration based on life-time achievement and contributions to the field of architecture. Past directors include seminal figures such as Kazuyo Sejima, Aaron Betsky and Aldo Rossi. This year’s artistic director is multi-award winning architect Sir David Chipperfield. Venue This year’s International Architecture Exhibition will take place in the historical Biennale venues of the Giardini and the Arsenale di Venezia.

The Arsenale The Arsenale complex is the physical remnants of the largest pre-industrial production centre in the world. It is therefore a historically significant location within the city of Venice. Accordingly, the Corderie building, situated within the heart of the Arsenale, is the alloted space in which David Chipperfield will curate a select number of works conforming to the theme of Common Ground. The Giardini The International Architecture exhibition will be shown also at the Giardini, mainly in the Central Pavilion. These gardens in the east of Venice have been the traditional venue for the International Art Exhibition since 1895. They were laid out during the Napoleonic era, on land that had once been occupied by a district that included four churches and three convents. The area hosts the Central Pavilion and a further 29 national pavilions, built at various periods by the participating countries themselves. Several pavilions in the Gardens were designed and built by famous architects. National participations The 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia will also present, as is traditional, the National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, and in the historic city centre of Venice. In the 2010 exhibition, 52 Foreign Countries were represented in Venice Biennale. Collateral Events The Architecture Biennale will also include selected Collateral Events, presented by international entities and institutions, which will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 13th Exhibition. Selection process Participation in the International exhibition is upon invitation by the Artistic Director only, and is therefore highly prestigious. 29th August – 25th November 2012

In David Chipperfield’s own words

“I want this Biennale to celebrate a vital, interconnected architectural culture, and pose questions about the intellectual and physical territories that it shares. In the methods of selection of participants, my Biennale will encourage the collaboration and dialogue that I believe is at the heart of architecture, and the title will also serve as a metaphor for architecture’s field of activity.

I am interested in the things that architects share in common, from the conditions of the practice of architecture to the influences, collaborations, histories and affinities that frame and contextualise our work. I want to take the opportunity of the Biennale to reinforce our understanding of architectural culture, and to emphasise the philosophical and practical continuities that define it. The title Common Ground also has a strong connotation of the ground between buildings, the spaces of the city. I want projects in the Biennale to look seriously at the meanings of the spaces made by buildings: the political, social, and public realms of which architecture is a part. I do not want to lose the subject of architecture in a morass of sociological, psychological or artistic speculation, but to try to develop the understanding of the distinct contribution that architecture can make in defining the common ground of the city...”


The Wall House in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India, 1996

Situated in Auroville, an emerging city in the Tamil Nadu region of India, the Wall House can be described as a testing ground for technological and spatial innovation. Notably, whilst almost every exploration in the Wall House has periodically occurred to inform other projects by Kundoo; the end result is a widely acknowledged piece of architecture placed harmoniously within a dramatic landscape setting. Spatially, the innovation lies in the redefinition of borders and transitional spaces in which a keen responsiveness to the conditions of local climate and culture are demonstrated. A selection of materials and technologies explored in the Wall House will be showcased at the Venice Biennale, and will include: terracotta interlocking tubes, terracotta filler slabs, terracotta jack arches, and recycled materials


The Wall House in the Corderie Building of the Arsenale, Venice Photomontage Ground level Plan 1 : 625 Typical cross section

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The Exhibition Project

The installation is intended as a 1:1 representational study of the Wall House, in which technologies and spatial strategies can be further explored and expanded upon. It is anticipated that the structure will consist of authentic and new elements, in order to deliver the project within its new context: the Arsenale. The interest of the project lies in its ability to evoke and thereby simulate a spatial experience akin to the original Wall House, and to share with a wider audience, the technological undertakings of Anupama Kundoo.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ultimately, the success of the project will be measured by its ability to capture the essential elements and intentions of the Wall House and to act as a critique of the practice of exhibiting artefact as architecture.


The Team

Exhibition Design Team: Anupama Kundoo Michael Dickson Assisted by: Jessica Spresser Master of Architecture student Katie Hawgood Master of Architecture student Yohei Omura Master of Architecture student Collaborators: Andreas Dener Photography Harun Farocki Filmmaker Professor Gerd Fleischmann Visual Communication Greg Killen Structural Engineering Ray Meeker Ceramicist

Dr Anupama Kundoo Brisbane Address The University of Queensland School of Architecture Room 318_Zelman Cowen Building, Brisbane QLD 4072_Australia P +61 420 678436 F +61 7 3365 3999 Address in India Petite Ferme_Auroville 605 101 Tamil Nadu_India P + 91 915 9788631 Council of Architecture_India Regn. No. CA/93/15925 Associate of the Indian Institute of Architects www.anupamakundoo.com info@anupamakundoo.com

Yohei Omura, Jessica Spresser, Michael Dickson (hidden), Dr Anupama Kundoo, Senior Lecturer, BArch University of Mumbai, PhD TU Berlin


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