Australian architects think about cities in 2050 and beyond

The Australian Institute of Architects has announced a shortlist of proposals for the Australia Pavillion at the Venice Biennale. The shortlist of 24 was selected from 129 submissions addressing urban spaces in 2050 and beyond.

Some of the proposals include:

  • New cities of 50,000-100,000 in desert areas
  • Cities which feature a ‘tartan-like texture of pure urban areas (or cells), pure rural cells, and cells which are a hybrid of rural and urban’, providing a ‘vital flexibility for a sustainable future’.
  • Cities hugging the coast from Noosa to Geelong to accommodate population growth and the preferred coastal climate; connected by a ‘very fast train running from North Qld to Victoria; pockets of vertical sprawl; new cities in pristine locations such as Botany Bay and the Royal National Park.
  • Cities in which ‘within tightly controlled boundaries exist Multiple Cities‘. Cities which address issues such as: what if a city grows not out, but up or down? What if a city’s growth boundary is not on its periphery but at its heart? What if new planning initiatives were introduced governing the use of air space? ‘A Green City, where the top plane provides wind and solar energy to power (and cool) the multiple cities below’, as well as all food production.
  • Cities ‘woven into the landscape’ – balancing dense human settlement with flora and fauna biodiversity, with major roadways converted into natural landscape corridors.

The competition fired the imagination of Australia’s architects and designers, resulting in inspired, possible solutions and imaginative proposals addressing the critical issue of Australian urbanism – examining possibilities across the terrestrial, underwater and airborne realms.

The two-part ‘NOW + WHEN Australian Urbanism‘ exhibition will highlight three of Australia’s most interesting urban regions as they are ‘NOW’, before dramatically representing around seven futuristic urban environments from the competition as they may be ‘WHEN’ we reach 2050 and beyond.

Co-Creative Director and well-known Melbourne-based photographer John Gollings said: “The large number of entries and range of approach and philosophy exceeded expectations. We felt that more than 50 per cent of the entries could have made an important contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale, and narrowing the selection down to 24 was difficult.

“Of great interest now, is that these varied ideas must be turned into tangible 3D models which can be screened as virtual, built projects for exhibition in the Australian Pavilion in Venice. This process will challenge the normal speculative imaging often produced by architects, and lead to new presentation techniques benefiting the whole profession as the world embraces 3D, virtual, and holographic media. From the test results with our 3D projectors, now running in Melbourne, the Australian pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale will be a standout attraction.”

The Creative Directors said those shortlisted were far more than hypotheticals. Each uniquely responded to future challenges including population growth, environmental degradation, dwindling resources and climate change. Each entry reflected a highly creative diversity of possibilities fused with a diversity of design that mapped out possible cities of the future.

12th Venice Architecture Biennale:
Vernissage: 26, 27, 28 August 2010;
Exhibition: 29 August – 28 November 2010

SOURCE: Australian Institute of Architects

RELATED NEWS STORY: Sydney Morning Herald – Living in the future, with under-harbour views

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