Waterloo University’s Hylozoic Ground project selected to represent Canada at Venice Biennale in Architecture

The Canada Council for the Arts announced that Hylozoic Ground, a project by PBAI (Philip Beesley Architect Inc.) in collaboration with the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, has been selected through a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale in Architecture. The Biennale, which is the world’s most prestigious architectural exhibition, will take place in Venice, Italy, from September to November 2010.


Hylozoic Ground is a uniquely Canadian experimental architecture that explores qualities of contemporary wilderness. The project will transform the Canadian Pavilion in Venice with an immersive environment composed of a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters and whiskers that senses and responds to its human occupants. Arrays of touch sensors and actuators create a breathing motion, intended to draw visitors into the “shimmering depths of a forest of light.” The project builds upon the interdisciplinary work of PBAI and collaborators, combining innovative research within architecture, engineering and sculpture. The exhibition is intended to tour a number of Canadian galleries following the installation in Venice.


Hylozoic Ground was selected in consultation with an independent assessment committee comprised of Angela Grauerholz (Université de Québec à Montréal Centre de Design), Brigitte Shim (Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Toronto), and Mark Wasiuta (Columbia University, New York). The committee commented that “the project proposes to be a unique response to the Biennale, treating it as a speculative laboratory for architectural experimentation.”


The installation in Venice will be designed by architect Philip Beesley working with collaborators Andrew Hunter (independent curator), Rob Gorbet (engineering director) and Dr. Rachel Armstrong. Together, they bring many years of experience in innovative architecture, art and design.


The Canada Council for the Arts and Royal Architecture Institute of Canada are working together to provide financial support and assist with project oversight for Canada’s architectural representation in Venice. This collaboration is part of a larger project to investigate developing support for the advancement of the presentation and appreciation of contemporary Canadian architectural excellence in Canada and abroad. 



For more information and for downloadable images of this project are available in the Canada Council image gallery at: www.canadacouncil.ca/news/imagegallery.