Indoor Installation of 10,000 Plants Considers Relationship Between Endangered Australian Grasslands and Architecture
For Australia’s Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion, curators Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright, of Baracco+Wright Architects worked with artist Linda Tegg to create Grasslands Repair, a 10,000-plant recreation of the grasslands of southeast Victoria. The living indoor installation spans much of the pavilion and extends to its outdoor space, with walkways that allow viewers to move among the 65 species of Western Plains Grasslands plants.
The theme for the 2018 biennale (which opened in May) is “Repair,” which was described in a press release as a way of considering how architecture can “play a role in repairing the places it is part of.” Only one percent of the grasslands of mid-18th century Victoria still exists— largely the result of urbanization and industrial land use — so for Baracco, Wright, and Tegg, Grasslands Repair shows the real cost of human land occupation. “The area of plants exhibited is similar to that taken up by the pavilion,” the curators said. “It is also a smaller area than that of an average Australian family house. Such an area takes around an hour to bulldoze.”
Supporting the living garden from above is an installation called Skylight, which uses LEDs as an artificial light source since the walls and ceiling of the structure block the sun. Throughout the biennale, films that explore the theme of Repair are screened on the walls of the Grasslands Repair installation, including Ground, which was created by Baracco+Wright and Tegg in collaboration with David Fox. Without the history of the region for context, the installation is just another indoor garden perfectly suited for selfies, but with the knowledge of what human interaction has done to indigenous species, it becomes a call to action to try and undo the damage we have done.