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Familial Clouds

This exhibition was an installation of the design work of two New Zealand architects, University of Auckland’s Andrew Barrie and Simon Twose (Victoria University Wellington) as part of an international group show at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale. David Chipperfield, the Biennale commissioner, set the overall biennale theme as Common Ground.

The installation presented four architectural designs – two by each of the architects – through specially made paper models. Responding to Chipperfield’s provocation, the four projects are positioned on a plinth within a large hand-drawn diagram of their architects’ professional ‘family trees’. The diagram shows who they worked for and with, and who those architects worked for, and so on, back to the earliest days of formal architectural practice in New Zealand – adding up to almost the entire history of architecture in this country. Laid out with basic drawing tools and a handful of black pens, the diagram was three-dimensionalized with paper figures of the architects and tiny paper models (made from simple laser-printed drawings cut and folded into shape), creating a ‘village’ of iconic Kiwi buildings and their architects.

On the walls, designs for two houses have been dispersed into a cloud of 550 drawings, models and slides. Each element was held in place by a plate screwed to the wall, a custom-folded metal arm that clips onto it, a specifically oriented mirror that clips on in turn, and then a drawing, slide or model that completes the assembly. Showing the intimate connections that occur within the practice of architecture – the ‘internal world of design’ – hand drawings and photos of paper models transition to drawings and models in digital media, linking the two projects in a continuous evolution of design thinking. The walls and plinth show the flow of time and influence in architectural practice – at the scale of a nation and at the intimate scale of the design of projects.


Palazzo Bembo, Collateral Event,

13th International Architecture Exhibition,





Exhibitors: Andrew Barrie and Simon Twose

Credits: Melanie Pau (assistant).