MPavilion opens in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens

MPavilion Glenn Murcutt - photo by John GollingsDesigned by Australia’s only Pritzker Architecture Prize recipient Glenn Murcutt AO, MPavilion 2019 has opened in the Queen Victoria Gardens, celebrating Australian design and identity with a free four-month season of events until 22 March 2020.

Internationally influential for his environmentally responsible designs with a distinctive Australian character, Murcutt’s MPavilion heralds a milestone in the architect’s fifty-year career as his first civic city design.MPavilion 2019 is the sixth in an ongoing series of annual architect-designed summer pavilions for Melbourne.

MPavilion 2019 was officially opened by MPavilion founder Naomi Milgrom AO, architect Glenn Murcutt AO, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

Naomi Milgrom AO, chair of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, who commissioned Glenn Murcutt to design MPavilion 2019, said: “Glenn’s fifty-year practice has inspired a new movement in thinking about climate-responsive design. His MPavilion refines the Australian characteristics we’ve all come to love about his buildings, and provokes a conversation about how Australian design can lead a growing international conversation about the future of cities.”

MPavilion 2019 relays Murcutt’s longstanding interest in linear buildings that make efficient use of researched site and climatic conditions. Prioritising a view of the Yarra River and city skyline with weather-effective design elements, the MPavilion consists of a rectangular plan and round steel columns supporting wing-like trusses wrapped in translucent tensile membrane, shaping a buoyant white roof that will be lit from within at night. The result is a sleek and adaptable MPavilion resting on the landscape.

“I felt a crisp white building that at night could be lit from within its roof – like a lantern in the Queen Victoria Gardens, giving the pavilion a feeling of lightness – would sit comfortably in the location,” said Glenn Murcutt. “Having the pavilion face north, open towards the river, I could work with good climatic conditions. This also means that from within the MPavilion one can view the gardens to the river and the city.”

During the Opening Weekend events, Glenn Murcutt will appear in conversation with Naomi Milgrom and journalist and author Virginia Trioli on Saturday 16 November: 3.30 – 4.30pm. Murcutt’s design has inspired MPavilion’s program themes for its 2019/20 season of free events: November: Australian Design: Identity and Cultural Collaboration; December: Connection: Instruments of Harmonious Living; January: Unplugged: Energy Without Electricity; February: Earth: A Place of Reconciliation, a Reconciliation of Place; and March: Knowledge: Shared Learning, Shared Power.

This year, MPavilion continues its BLAKitecture series of Indigenous design forums, and welcomes its 2019 Artist in Residence, Beci Orpin, who has also designed the MPavilion 2019 Kiosk staff uniform in collaboration with The Social Studio. Renowned Melbourne designer Chris Connell has designed the ‘MP Stool’ in collaboration with grazia&co for use at MPavilion during the season and will also be leading a drawing workshop Thursday 28 November: 6.00 – 7.00pm.

Further collaborators to the MPavilion 2019 program include the Archibald Prize, AsiaTOPA, Melbourne Theatre Company, Royal College of Art, Melbourne Music Week, Climate Emergency Cinema, Heide Museum of Modern Art, the School of Life, Chunky Move, Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Koorie Heritage Trust,Tom & Captain Dog-Walking Adventures, Louvre Museum, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, RMIT, Swinburne, Melbourne and Monash universities, Green Magazine and 3RRR.

MPavilion is supported by principal partners City of Melbourne, Victorian State Government through Creative Victoria and Development Victoria, and ANZ. It was brought to fruition by Glenn Murcutt AO with structural engineers AECOM, specialist tensile roof fabric advisor Temple Architecture, builders Kane Constructions, building surveyors Gardner Group, lighting designers Bluebottle in collaborationwith JSB Lighting, and visual identity by Studio Ongarato.

MPavilion 2019 is designed as both a temporary summer pavilion and an enduring architectural creation. At the end of each season, MPavilion is gifted to the people of Victoria and moved to a permanent new home to be engaged by the community in perpetuity, creating an ongoing legacy in Melbourne’s increasingly sophisticated architectural landscape.

The MPavilion 2019 / 2020 season of free events features hundreds of international and local collaborators, spanning talks, workshops, performances, kid-friendly experiences and community projects – which continues to Sunday 22 March 2020. For more information, and full program, visit: for details.

Image: MPavilion designed by Glenn Murcutt AO – photo by John Gollings