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More Than 10,000 Plants Create Grassland Inside Australian Pavilion

Grassland Repair, Australian Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Rory Gardiner

Baracco+Wright Architects has filled with more than 10,000 wild grasses the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2018  as part of an exhibition calling for a reassessment of the value of Victoria’s natural landscape.

The exhibition, a collaboration between Melbourne architecture practice Baracco and Wright and artist Linda Tegg, highlights the importance of environmental rehabilitation in architectural practice.

 Grassland Repair, Australian Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

“We have often struggled with our relationship as architects when considering the use of land – it’s no small act,” said Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright. “We believe there is a role for architecture to actively engage with the repair of the places it is part of, which our exhibition will communicate. We hope the discussion we’re presenting will engage the profession as enthusiastically as it has already done here in Australia.”

 Grassland Repair, Australian Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

The exhibition includes a grassland installation comprising 10,000 plants representing 65 endangered species from the Victorian Western Plains Grasslands plant community, only one percent of which remains in its endemic environment.

The plants form the installation, titled Grassland Repair, which occupies both the indoor and outdoor spaces of the Australian Pavilion in the Venice Giardini designed by Denton Corker Marshall. It creates a vegetated field in dialogue with the architecture and will “serve as a reminder of what is at stake when we occupy land,” according to the creative directors.

 Grassland Repair, Australian Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

“When I looked at Baracco and Wright’s notion of repair, it was clear that they were prompting a shift in how architecture understands its place,” says Artist Linda Tegg. “Throughout our collaboration, it hasn’t been hard to find common ground. I often think it’s the prevalence of plants in our lives and thinking that enables the kind of generous collaboration that we’ve shared over the past year.”

 Grassland Repair, Australian Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Grasslands Repair is one of three components of the exhibition. Above the field and suspended beneath the ceiling, a lighting installation made up of 100 LED lights, titled Skylight,  simulates the energy of the sun, providing a life-support system for the plants.

The third component, called Ground, is an experiential video series, created by Linda Tegg and Baracco and Wright, authored by David Fox, which showcases the 15 Australian projects, built and unbuilt, that exemplify various approaches to repairing the natural environment.

The exhibition is on show at the Australian Pavilion for the duration of the Venice Architecture Biennale, which runs until 25 November 2018.