Architectural graduate Antonia Lapwood has been awarded the 2016 Warren and Mahoney International Scholarship to attend the Venice Architecture Biennale which starts in May this year and runs for six months.
The University of Auckland alumna will spend two weeks as a volunteer at the New Zealand pavilion ‘Future Islands’, which is coordinated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
The Biennale was established in 1980 and promotes debate around design and urban planning, with more than 65 countries taking part.
For Lapwood, this is an exciting opportunity to glean a more global perspective on her chosen profession, and to investigate how the digital age is changing the more traditional experience of the Biennale.
While the 23-year-old will record her discoveries and thoughts using online platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, she comments, “Social media has the ability to break down the hierarchy between the artistic institution and the public, but we need to remain aware that the ideas behind these exhibitions can be reduced and diluted to visual icons. In an era when we are bombarded with thousands of images daily, we should retain focus on the ideas behind the images and keep questioning why we post what we do.”
A couple of architectural exhibitions that Lapwood has participated in thus far include a team installation at the 2011 Rugby World Cup fan trail which enhanced the sensory experience of supporters on their way to Eden Park and, as a member of the design collective four/two/one, an installation for Urbis Designday™ 2015 entitled “Head in The Clouds”.
Attending the Biennale will allow Lapwood to further research the relationship between architecture, art and installation. “Installations are places of experimentation, provocation and commentary, liberated from the limitations of conventional architectural function. When architectural ideas are presented in an installation or exhibition, it encourages people to understand them openly within a contemplative platform,” she says.
In announcing Lapwood as the recipient of the scholarship, the panel was impressed by her research into the history and role of the Biennale.
“We are confident Antonia will act as a superb ambassador at this world-class event,” says John Coop, convenor of judges and principal at Warren and Mahoney.