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Cook to curate Biennale pavilion

Nine practices on the verge of international stardom are to represent Britain at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Ian Ritchie, Future Systems and John Pawson are among those chosen to exhibit in the British Pavilion this autumn.

Archigram veteran Peter Cook is curating the show, after beating Zaha Hadid, Rowan Moore and Gross.Max. to the prestigious job.

The British Council appointed Cook to realise his proposal for a group show in which the nine architects will represent the major strands within the British architectural scene.

Cook has also chosen Kathryn Findlay, Caruso St John, Richard Murphy, Ron Arad, C J Lim and himself, working with Gavin Rowbotham. All of those included will be showing in the British Pavilion for the first time.

Each architect will be asked to contribute one major work, one previously unseen work and a sound recording. There will also be smaller installations from the Bartlett and the Architectural Association.

Cook said he planned to juxtapose the architects - each with their own strongly held position - to create interesting tensions. 'I'm very tempted to put Caruso next to Kaplicky, for example, ' he said.

Cook added that, although not all the practices he has selected to exhibit in the show are to his taste, each 'goes all the way' with their chosen approach.

'The British are generally rather wet. I want to put the chatter back. I want to make the point that UK architecture doesn't have to be dull.'

Emily Campbell, head of design at the British Council, said she was delighted that 'well-respected and inspirational' Cook would be curating the show.

'We liked the idea of a polemic - a hotbed of opposing ideas, ' she said.

Proposals that didn't make it into the show included: an exhibition on the Thames Gateway from The Architecture Foundation's Rowan Moore; an exploration of the connections between architecture, landscape and computers by Gross. Max. ; and proposals from Cecil Balmond, Adams Kara Taylor and Zaha Hadid.

The ninth Venice Architecture Biennale takes place from 5 September until 7 November, under the general directorship of Kurt Forster, who has set the overall theme, 'Metamorphoses'.

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