Rome Meets Melbourne: OMA designs MPavilion 2017
Client: Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Location: Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne (AU)
Since 2014, MPavilion has been sponsored by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. This supports the creation of a temporary installation that functions as an open-air centre for performances and events devoted to the topics of design, architecture and culture. It stands in Queen Victoria Gardens, which are located in Melbourne’s Southbank art district.
A square foundation plate determines the outer dimensions of the installation. On top of this, two stages play a main role in the MPavilion event. They are like an amphitheatre; moreover, they constantly rezone the space. While the larger of the two is firmly anchored to the ground and describes a three-quarter circle segment, the other is significantly smaller and can be rotated. As a stage for performances, it creates a private, sheltered atmosphere inside the pavilion when needed. It can also be turned to open up towards the natural surroundings. The larger stage is backed by overgrown knolls; these appear like a combination of parametric design and organic nature: triangular surfaces form variously planted areas and embed the installation in the park.
The temporary structure is finished off by a roof covering that is square-shaped as well. Connected to the subconstruction only by means of individual points of support, it seems to float two metres above the pavilion. Made of aluminum-plated steel with an airy look, it allows a view upwards into its construction, where steel joists are arranged in a characteristic grid pattern. The roof volume contains the technical infrastructure as well as a curtain for performances. The roof offers more than shelter from the weather: after dark, LED tubes mounted on the underside transform the MPavilion into a source of diffused light.
This contrast with nature and the combination of static and dynamic elements inherent in the construction form an exciting setting for many different interventions and events. The pavilion not only evokes associations with an amphitheatre and transports visitors to another world, it also activates and encourages an exchange of ideas about design, architecture and culture. The aim set by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation for the MPavilion, which is to create a vibrant place in the centre of Melbourne, has been perfectly achieved by OMA.