NZ timber installation arrives in Venice
Friday 11 Jun 2021
The design of the project is a collaboration from staff at the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning and explores the use of timber as an innovative building material that is both sustainable and strong. The school was invited to exhibit as part of the Italian Pavilion at this year’s Biennale, which was rescheduled from last year due to COVID-19, by curator Professor Alessandro Melis, a former staff member at the University.
“It’s very unusual for a university from outside Italy to be invited to exhibit in the Italian pavilion,” says one of the project’s designers Dr Kathy Waghorn, “but Alessandro Melis taught at the School, and was extremely interested in the country’s traditions in working with timber, and our research on the material”.
The installation is made up of 436 individual timber ‘sticks’ and 287 brackets that create a lattice-like structure housing a digitally-tooled, salvaged kauri bench. After extensive testing of the construction of the project, it was disassembled into its components and shipped to Italy in February of 2020. The University noted that each of the ‘sticks’ was given a unique label, and each package of sticks was weighed to ensure that it can be carried by two people.
Due to the pandemic, the entire Biennale was put on hold, and thus, Learning from Trees has been sitting in the Venice Arsenale since April 2020. With the Biennale finally opening on 22 May 2021, the New Zealand team worked with the Italian team to oversee the construction of the installation remotely.
Learning From Trees: transforming timber culture in Aotearoa is now on display at La Biennale di Venezia, which runs until 21 November 2021. Click here to find out more about the design of the installation.
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