New, permanent home for the Cox Pavilion in Australia

Phillip Cox Pavilion_Venice_editorialAustralia Council Chairman Rupert Myer AM has announced that the original, Philip Cox designed Australian Pavilion in Venice’s historic Biennale precinct will have a new, permanent home in Australia.

Renowned Melbourne restaurateur and arts patron Rinaldo (Ronnie) Di Stasio’s proposal to bring the pavilion home to Australia has been welcomed by the Venetian authorities.

Built as a temporary exhibition space in 1988 when Venetian officials granted Australia a highly sought after site in the prestigious Biennale Gardens, the pavilion was dismantled earlier this year to make way for the new, Denton Corker Marshall designed building, currently under construction.

Di Stasio, whose own vision for a new Australian Pavilion has been an instrumental force in the development of the new building, will rebuild the original pavilion in his vineyard in Coldstream, Victoria, with the intention of opening it to the public as a gallery space and architecture lab.

“The Venetian authorities considered it of utmost importance that Australia’s original pavilion be preserved in line with its original character and purpose,” said Mr Myer.

“The Cox pavilion has been integral to the story of Australia’s participation in Venice. Now, through Ronnie’s passion for art and architecture, it will have a second life in Australia. This is a wonderful outcome and deeply satisfying to all concerned,” Mr Myer said.

“It was always an Australian Architecture, a part of Australia, transplanted into Venice, a temporary building and yet as permanent as are the vernacular buildings of the Australian landscape. I am pleased the Australian Pavilion is coming home. The Pavilion’s new home is excellent and I congratulate the new owner on their spirit and endeavours,” Professor Philip Cox AO said.

In 2008, Ronnie Di Stasio initiated an independent ideas competition calling for designs for a new contemporary building for the historic Venice Biennale gardens. In doing so, he planted a seed that will be realised when the new, Denton Corker Marshall designed building is launched in 2015.

“The Cox building is a great one, and helped secure our permanent place in the Giardini in Venice, which is monumental. It was meant to be temporary, but stayed for 25 years and is filled with history and stories,” Mr Di Stasio said. “I am honoured to be able to bring it back to Australia, and have it rebuilt and available for public use for many years to come.”

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Image: Phillip Cox Pavilion in Venice