A vault full of unique architectural also-rans will be created for the very first time for Australia’s exhibition at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

From the ingenious to the downright curious – visitors will experience what could have been; an alternative architectural reality.

Augmented Australia 1914-2014 by Perth team felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad has been chosen as Australia’s contribution to the international celebration of architecture.

Keeping in line with Rem Koolhaas’s focus on historical importance and national identity, the team will bring 21 unrealised Australian projects to life through three-dimensional augmented models, images, voiceovers and animations; ten historical designs, ten unbuilt public buildings by contemporary architects and the new Australian Pavilion by Denton Corker Marshall which will then be under construction in Venice.

‘For every finished building there are countless designs that for whatever reason don’t eventuate and these masterpieces often remain hidden to the outside world,’ said Director of felix., Rene Van Meeuwen.

‘These lost projects provide a wealth of insight into architecture for an Australian setting from the past 100 years and are often more exciting than the end result.

‘This cabinet of architectural curiosities provides an opportunity to construct a bridge between architecture and the public by demonstrating the process, the hours and alternatives behind significant public works and a chance to give this archived material new life,’ he said.

The exhibition is constructed around augmented reality, activated with an app for smart devices, which provides a platform to capture the imagination of the public in an interactive, self-directed way.

‘Positioned between virtual reality and the real world, augmented reality has become a powerful and interactive tool, especially useful in showcasing architectural works,’ Mr Van Meeuwen said.

‘Visitors will be able to point their smart phone at the trigger images to open up a catalogue of virtual material allowing them to visualise, walk through and admire the scale and greatness of each project.’

Marker poles housing the trigger images will herald the Australian exhibition and provide the portal to the unrealised world, while the virtual content will be accessible in an online catalogue with 3D printing files available to allow the public to print or order their own 3D replicas.

Architectural historian Philip Goad will assist the team in selecting the noteworthy unrealised historical projects. Meanwhile, the ten contemporary works will be selected through an open call to architects with unbuilt public projects designed in the last twenty years for an Australian site. Rem Koolhaas has observed that ‘national identity has seemingly been sacrificed to modernity’. felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad are interested in this global trend and also in its rebuttal; entrants will need to define how their project relates to this, as well as to Koolhaas’s theme more generally. Submissions for unbuilt public projects can be made at architecture.com.au/venicebiennale.

 Source: The Australian Institute of Architects

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