Australia’s ‘Now and When’ urbanism architectural exhibition intially opened at the Venice Architecture Biennale in years past and was greeted with a surprised and inspired reception. Now as the exhibition continues its way around the world – currently wowing the Asian populis – the perceptions of a future Australia are being drawn back into the industry arena.
The exhibition is changing the global view of Australia as a highly urban country. Instead of the traditional ‘bushland’ image that many countries still have of this country, they are receiving a very different, and sophisticated architectural message.
However, as the exhibition comes back into focus it once again brings up the possibilities, and challenges, that a future Australia faces in terms of urban living and fighting the ever-growing urban sprawl.
The ‘When’ sections of the exhibition still to this day offer insights and ideals as to how we in Australian can fight growing density issues without disconnecting from our great communities.
“The overarching message of the ‘Now and When: Kota Masa Depan’ exhibition is that the Australian identity has gone ‘walkabout’, it has come out of the bush and bedded down in our urban centers” says co-executive ‘Now and When’ Australian urbanism exhibition director Ivan Rijavec. “Though outback and bush myths remain seminal to our culture, there is no doubt that the Australian collective consciousness is now urban”.
The seventeen futuristic design urban design proposals offered at the exhibition are now being brought back into the spectrum of the Australia industry in regards to the growing need to decrease urban sprawl and resource waste.
The concepts include a ‘Fear Free City’ created by Justyna Karakiewicz, Tom Kvan and Steve Hatzellis of the Melbourne School of Design (University of Melbourne) which envisions an architecturally interconnected city that blurs the lined between public and private space, thus bringing together communities and promoting safety and connectivity.
Also still showing its relevance is Scott Lloyd, Aaron Roberts (room 11) and Katrina Stoll’s ‘Island Proposition 2100′ which envisions a structural spine linking Tasmania to Melbourne and further Australian cities through a sustainable structure. It has been proposed in order to reconnect Australia at large, in addition to visibly changing the urban aesthetic and reducing urban sprawl through a promotion of communication and development of new urban centres.
In addition to these two architecturally focussed design proposals, Arup’s ‘Underwater City’ and NH architecture’s ‘Aquatown’ focus on the inclusion of water cities and water itself as a central focus for a new, dramatic and highly innovative way to cut urbanity right of the picture.
It is time to revisit these proposals again. Although extreme in their vision, by taking inspiration from these intensely and innovative architectural concepts, strong and positive steps can be taken in reclaiming a sustainable, community driven society, free from the urban sprawl.