Exhibition explores islands as sites of possibility…

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03 Sep 2018

‘Future Islands: New Zealand at the Venice Architecture Biennale’, is on exhibition in the Kahukura, Engineering and Architectural Studies building, at Ara from 6 September- 26 September and it offers a fresh, inventive perspective on global architecture.

There are nine islands is the exhibit, and fifty-four model projects created by New Zealand architects, which come together to represent an imagination of various utopias. The structure of the exhibit is based around Italo Calvino’s book ‘Invisible Cities’, where in over nine chapters the famous Venetian explorer Marco Polo recounts tales of 55 amazing cities he has visited.

Charles Walker, Creative Director of Future Islands, was quoted by Object Space Gallery as saying that the exhibition is about “the practice and promise of architecture in this country – a small, open society that is diverse, changing and economically (and seismically) vulnerable.”

Walker says, “The exhibition, optimistically, makes the case for architectural exploration. It includes projects at very different scales, from large social and educational buildings by New Zealand’s biggest architectural firms to tiny structures designed and built by recent graduates.”  

Belfiore Bologna, Programme Leader and Manager of Architectural Studies at Ara approached the New Zealand Institute of Architecture (NZIA) last year to see how Ara could be involved in the 2018 stand at the Biennale. Bologna is also an Honorary Consular Agent of Italy for Canterbury.

“Unfortunately NZIA informed me that Creative New Zealand didn’t have a budget for New Zealand architecture to be represented at the Biennale this year. Instead; NZIA decided to bring New Zealand’s pavilion exhibition from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale to Auckland, Wellington and here to Christchurch- and they approached Ara to host it,” he says.

Bologna thinks exhibitions like Future Islands help his students to see the big picture.
“The life of architecture is not just about a mark, or an assessment, it’s about the projects. An exhibition like this is useful because it brings the students to understand that the world of architecture is very broad and that they can someday be a part of it.”

“Architecture is a global discipline, one that is important everywhere. For our students it’s about understanding the level of reach and in-depth meaning that architecture can have,” Bologna says.

In November, Kahukura will play host to another travelling architecture exhibit, this time from Japan. ‘Struggling Cities: from Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s”, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, will be at Ara from 1 November-14 December.  More information is available on the Embassy of Japan's website.

Read more about Future Islands