The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia

Australian Institute of Architects – Sydney, Australia and Venice, Italy
Research, Strategy, Delivery

The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia, is the companion publication for the Australia’s highly anticipated contribution to the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Aileen Sage Architects (Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday) with Michelle Tabet.

Conceived, compiled, and produced by the Creative Directors, with assistance from the Left Bank Co. team, the Australian Institute of Architects project team, and collaborators Brett Boardman, Stephen Goddard and Jeanne Carey, the book is a compendium of the Creative Director’s research and the stories their process revealed and explores the Australian affinity with the pool. Designed to offer a richer experience of the exhibition, it explores the relationship between architecture and Australian cultural identity through personal anecdotes about one of our country’s most significant public spaces.

Eight prominent Australians have shared their poolside stories, including Olympic swimmers Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould, environmentalist Tim Flannery, fashion designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Romance was Born, authors Christos Tsiolkas and Anna Funder, Indigenous art curator Hetti Perkins and musician Paul Kelly.

The pool is revealed through the featured accounts as a vital force in Australian life, not only as the setting for childhood memories, but also as the stage for impressive sporting feats that fuel the nation’s pride. A backdrop to many significant events in our communities, the pool is also a deeply contested space in the history of Australia, that has highlighted racial discrimination and social disadvantage. Designed to be accessible, visually appealing but also intimate in tone, the book works as a standalone publication, while also giving visitors to the exhibition a deeper and more meaningful engagement with the themes being explored.

The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia is available for purchase here