Acclaimed international architects unveil MPavilion 2017

MPavilion 2017 - photo by John Gollings Acclaimed architects Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of international firm OMA, have opened MPavilion 2017 in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. Initiated and commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from the City of Melbourne, Creative Victoria and ANZ, MPavilion 2017 is the fourth annual architect-designed summer pavilion for Melbourne.

“It is a rare and privileged opportunity to have Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA design MPavilion 2017, and a remarkable coup for MPavilion to be their first completed commission in Australia,” said Naomi Milgrom AO, chair of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. “Rem and David’s profound vision and insight has resulted in an extraordinary pavilion for Melbourne.”

Inspired by ancient amphitheatres and embraced by a hill of native plants, MPavilion 2017 is shaped by two tiered grandstands – one fixed and the other moveable – and covered by a floating roof structure. 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 embeds advanced lighting technology for the series of free public events. Comprising static and dynamic elements, the 19×19-metre aluminium clad structure allows for multiple configurations that can generate unexpected programming, echoing the ideals of the typology of the traditional amphitheatre.

“Our design for MPavilion 2017 is intended to provoke all kinds of activities through its configurable nature and a materiality that relates to its direct surroundings,” says Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA. “We are happy that MPavilion can perform as a theatre of debate around the city and its development, and contribute to the ongoing civic discourse of Melbourne.”

MPavilion’s 2017 design was brought to fruition by builders Kane Construction; engineers Arup, building surveyors Gardener Group and landscape architects Tract who worked closely with OMA Australia’s regional director Paul Jones.

Designed as both a temporary summer pavilion and an enduring architectural creation, at the end of each season, MPavilion is moved to a permanent new home within Melbourne’s CBD, creating an ongoing legacy in Melbourne’s increasingly sophisticated architectural landscape.

Opening the 2017 program is Grandstanding: A reconfigurable future on Tuesday 3 October (1.00pm), Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten will join some of Melbourne’s most influential architects, cultural leaders and design thinkers including Rory Hyde, curator from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum – guided by Esther Anatolitis – in a quick-fire discussion about public space, the built environment and the world that surrounds it.

On Wednesday 4 October (1.00pm), Koolhaas and Gianotten will appear with Naomi Milgrom AO in the first MTalks in-conversation event this season, hosted by leading Australian journalist, author and ABC broadcaster, Virginia Trioli. Together they’ll discuss their hopes and dreams for MPavilion 2017, the intentions and provocations in the design, and new ideas on architecture and the built environment.

With a live performance on Friday 6 October (6.00pm) MPavilion 2017 will feature a twilight activated every night. The pavilion will erupt into an audiovisual symphony presented in collaboration with musician, composer and sound designer Philip Brophy and lighting designer Ben Cobham of bluebottle.

Likewise, each morning (9.00am), MPavilion’s daily morning ritual features an intimate and personal audio storytelling experience by N’arweet Carolyn Briggs, an elder of the Boonwurrung nation and language and linguistics expert committed to recording and sharing her heritage and history in oral and written form.

Running 4 – 15 October, the first MProjects for the season, Progress: The Game of Leaders sees Singaporean artist Sam Lo present a playful and interactive allegory that explores – with giant Jenga blocks – what’s put in peril by the unfettered progress of the so-called First World.

Together with hundreds of creative collaborators – both Australian and international – MPavilion presents a free, four-month program of events until to 4 February 2018. Additional program highlights will be revealed in the coming weeks. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: MPavilion 2017 – photo by John Gollings