Glen Murcutt’s MPavilion has opened to the public in the Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne.
Murcutt, Australia’s only Pritzker Prize recipient, is the sixth architect to design the pavillion which has become an ongoing series commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.
Like the Serpentine Pavilion in London, the MPavilion is a temporary summertime installation, with a new architect chosen each year.
Past designers include Melbourne architect Sean Godsell in 2014, London’s Amanda Levete of AL_A in 2015, Bijoy Jain and his Studio Mumbai in 2016, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA in 2017 and last year, Carme Pinós, whose Estudio Carme Pinós is in Barcelona.
Each pavilion is eventually relocated to a permanent home.
Inspired by his memories of resting in the shade of a small airplane’s fabric-covered wing, Murcutt designed a steel-framed structure topped by a seemingly aeronautical white canopy roof.
Prioritising a view of the Yarra River and city skyline with weather-effective design elements, with large overhangs along the length of the pavilion sheltering occupants from the sun and rain while retractable blinds on the south west block the wind.
Known for his environmentally-sensitive design sensibility, Murcutt’s most significant works include the recently completed Australian Islamic Centre in Melbourne, as well as the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre and several houses in New South Wales.
“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,” Murcutt said.
“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.”
Melbourne designer Chris Connell created red, stackable steel stools with steel mesh seats for the pavilion, which will host talks, workshops, performances, installations, and other public programming.
“The choice of Glenn Murcutt as the architect of this year is especially exciting and enhances Melbourne’s enviable reputation as a design capital,” lord mayor Sally Capp said.
“MPavilion’s season of free events and talks on arts, architecture, science and technology makes it one of the highlights of spring and summer for Melburnians and visitors alike.”
The pavilion will be open for a four-month-long season of free events from 14 November 2019 to 22 March 2020.
Each of the four months of the pavilion’s programming reflects a theme directly inspired by Murcutt’s career.
Next Saturday the pavilion will host a VR experience, taking audiences on a deep dive through Murcutt’s latest creations.