A creator of modern architectural icons, OMA is a prolific international practice of worldwide distinction and influence. Their MPavilion 2017 design sees a temporary structure that, along with providing space for public debate, design workshops, music and arts events, is itself built to perform.
Taking its cues from the ancient amphitheatre, this year’s pavilion blurs the lines between inside and outside – and between audience and performer – in a skillful yet empathetic manipulation of the surrounding landscape in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. OMA’s pavilion design seeks not only to employ the qualities of the amphitheatre, but to animate them by creating a flexible civic space that can function as a stage, auditorium or even playground.
“OMA’s exciting design engenders a theatre for ideas with Melbourne as its backdrop,” said Naomi Milgrom AO, MPavilion founder. “MPavilion 2017 will be extremely different to previous years, with a designated yet flexible stage enabling all kinds of cross-pollinated activity. Working with Rem, David and the OMA team is an extraordinary privilege, and I look forward to seeing them bring MPavilion 2017 to life with their multi-faceted intelligence and vision.”
MPavilion 2017 will comprise a circular amphitheatre embraced by a hill of indigenous plants and covered by a huge floating roof structure. It is shaped by two tiered grandstands: one fixed, the other movable. The rotating grandstand allows interaction from all angles and for the pavilion to open up to the garden and broader cityscape. Overhead, a two-metre-deep gridded, machine-like canopy with a protective translucent roof will provide lighting and technology for the series of free public events.
“The simple materiality of the pavilion is related to its direct surroundings, positioning the Queen Victoria Gardens itself – and the city of Melbourne – as a basis for activity and debate within the pavilion,” says Gianotten.
Comprising static and dynamic elements, the pavilion allows for multiple configurations that can generate unexpected programming, echoing the ideals of the typology of the amphitheatre. Construction is due to commence August 2017.
“MPavilion is a project that hopes to provoke discussion around what architecture can do both globally and in an Australian context,” said Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten said of the 2017 design. “We’re interested in treating this pavilion not just as an architectural object, but as something that injects intensity into a city and contributes to an ever-evolving culture.”
Gianotten will be speaking at the Living Cities Forum 2017, presented by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation on Thursday 27 July. Bringing together leading design thinkers from around the globe, the forum will investigate the definition of ‘liveability’ and consider the factors that determine a healthy and vibrant city.
Responding to OMA’s design, in a first for MPavilion, the program will open up to design industry professionals and students through a call for proposals to contribute to the events and activities during the season between 3 October 2017 and 4 February 2018. For more information, visit: www.mpavilion.org for details.
Image: M Pavilion 2017 – courtesy of OMA