Melburnians are big fans of pop-up cafés, bars and shops, but it’s not every day that a structure designed by a world-famous architect appears in the gardens opposite Arts Centre Melbourne.
Today, the fourth annual architect-designed MPavilion has been unveiled at Queen Victoria Gardens, where it will live for four months as a public space, playing host to a series of talks, events, gigs and screenings. The real drawcard of this year’s MPavilion is that it’s your chance to see work by two of the world’s most revered architects: Rem Koolhaas of international firm OMA, and the company’s managing partner David Gianotten. This is the first-ever Australian commission that the pair have ever taken on.
The space is a 19 x 19-metre aluminium structure inspired by ancient amphitheatres, which were meeting places for the community and performance venues.
The pavilion – which also houses two tiered grandstands – can be configured in many different ways to accommodate all kinds of events. The gridded roof is embedded with adjustable coloured lighting, and the sides are flanked by hills of native plants.
Speaking at the launch today, Koolhaas said that he and Gianotten “consider this pavilion as a tool for you to discuss the future of this city”. For the next four months, MPavilion will buzz with conversation. First up will be a talk on Wednesday October 3 at 7pm from Koolhaas and Gianotten themselves. Free meditation sessions will run every Wednesday morning, and every day will begin with a recorded Indigenous storytelling experience by Boon Warring elder N’arweet Carolyn Briggs. As twilight settles over the city, the space will come alight with a sound and light activation. For architecture enthusiasts, there’s also a large program of free talks. And, because this is Melbourne, there'll be a pop-up café serving coffee by local roasters, curated by local coffee subscription service Three Thousand Thieves.
For the full list of events, visit the MPavilion website.
Last year, 90,000 people flocked to MPavilion 2016 – a bamboo structure which now lives at the Melbourne Zoo. The Naomi Milgrom Foundation (who commissioned this work) hopes that this year, attendance will rise to over 100,000.