BRIEF- 3 November 2009 – Australian architects who claim their creative juices are stifled by planning laws and conservative clients are on notice: the creative directors for Australia’s submission to next year’s Venice Biennale are looking for imaginative and dramatic visions of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in 2050.

The two part NOW + WHEN Australian Urbanism exhibition will highlight the entire regions as they are now and how they will look in the future.

The “now” views will contrast macro-scapes of the cities at 20,000 feet with “helicoptering” views of urban and architectural icons at close range.

The WHEN component is “daring to imagine Australian urban spaces in 40 years and beyond, with the intent of catapulting urban debate into eye-popping visceral entertainment set in a soundscape.”

The creative team behind the concept NOW+WHEN, are architectural photographer John Gollings and architect Ivan Rijavec want the contest to “liberate architects from current planning and design constraints” and encourage “speculative, futuristic visions,” a media release from the Australian Institute of Architects explains.

According to the creative team behind the concept,  architectural photographer John Gollings and architect Ivan Rijavec the idea is that urban transformation in Australia will be driven as much by political and economic imperatives as they will be by technology and design.

“We’re especially interested in really imaginative designs with a strong theoretical basis which both integrate cultural influences and exploit the creative potential of architecture,” said Mr Rijavec.

The directors said they will look for designs that apply to the city as a whole rather than infill or minor precincts, and for those that address fundamental issues of Australian Urbanism such as density, sustainability and the effects of global warming.

“Ultimately we want participants to show us what we are likely to become and how our cities will accommodate us as they develop in the matrix of world urbanism and what will be the nature of our inevitable cultural transformation,” Mr Rijavec said.

A shortlist of entrants will be selected to develop their designs further, from which a group of finalists will be announced and whose work will be exhibited at the Australian Pavilion in Venice next year.

The Designs for Australia’s cities 2050+ competition is being held to source material for the WHEN part of Australia’s exhibition closes on 30 November.

All competition information is available at architecture.com.au/nowandwhen