Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
Even seasoned travellers welcome the insight of the right sort of local, a gently guiding hand in new territories or a fresh take on the familiar. With this in mind, Wallpaper* in collaboration with Tudor watches has produced a series of Style Files; country-specific, cliché-dodging dossiers and in-the-field notes for the contemporary explorer who really knows where they are going.
For such a young country, Australia has a remarkably rich and credible architectural heritage. Harry Seidler, Walter Burley Griffin and Glenn Murcutt all helped to shape Australia’s contemporary landscape with their down under spin on modernism and urban design. Now Gerard Reinmuth, of Sydney architectural partnership Terroir, and Anthony Burke, head of school at the city’s School of Architecture, think it’s time the rest of the world got to know about the thriving antipodean aesthetic. Next year Reinmuth and Burke will be heading up the creative team for the Australian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice International Architecture Biennale, presenting an exhibition, ‘Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture’, challenging traditionally held beliefs about what architecture can be. ‘It’s very exciting to see where architectural work is heading – the new domain areas that are being explored and the vitality and variety of innovative architectural types Australia seems to foster,’ says Burke. The duo typify the laid-back but forward-thinking mood of contemporary Sydney. ‘Australian design is confidently local – unfussy with a fair amount of irreverence,’ says Burke. His ideal Australian lifestyle is all egg-flips, Sydney Rock Oysters and the boutique bars in Darlinghurst. Architecture-wise, his stand-out building is the 1956 Richardson house by Peter Muller in Palm Beach, which, he says, channels Frank Lloyd Wright ‘in a beautiful and eccentric Australian way’. As for Tasmania-born Reinmuth, his Aussie staples include Vegemite (‘for hangovers’), the Sydney Opera House (‘a magnificent apparition hiding a million lessons for every architect’), and, his favourite time of day, ‘7am on a body board in the surf’.