City pavilion for long summer days

Words: Jenna Waite Photography: Nick Stephenson

Each year for the next four years an outstanding architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne.

The 2014 MPavilion has been designed by Australian architect Sean Godsell. It’s described as a new kind of clubhouse—a meeting place and a starting point from which to explore a free program of talks, workshops, performances and installations this summer.

The design brief was to build an adaptable, sustainable and temporary pavilion that could cater for a diversity of events. The demountable structure features a remotely operable façade which can be animated into different configuration and secured at night. The versatile pavilion consequently suits a variety of needs and is designed perfectly for an easy relocation to its permanent home.

Watch how the MPavilion unfurls each morning.

The entire structure is completely recyclable, from the reclaimed 19th Century woolshed floorboards to the lightweight, light-filled structure made of galvanised steel and aluminium mesh. The designers even maintained the excavated soil to produce two grassy mounds, creating an ideal space to gather and lounge north of the site.

Godsell imagined a typical country meeting place in the design. “The hay sheds and barns, shearers’ sheds and verandahs of the outback are Australia’s meeting rooms and community centres,” he says. “We congregate in these rudimentary structures and host weddings, balls, meetings about impending drought or inevitable fire. They are potent places.”

“The Melbourne Pavilion is a simple 12mx12m steel structure with glazed roof and fully automated outer skin. It provides shade and shelter and filters the harsh sun. Its precedent can be seen on distant hills and far horizons in the Australian outback.”

Godsell’s pavilion not only celebrates innovative, creative and sustainable design solutions, it also hosts a program of cultural events and activities. These free events include a workshop on December 19 by the RMIT Design Futures Lab to explore how design can help make a better future.

Check out the full program of events at www.mpavilion.org

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Up to 60 per cent of the water used in an average home is used outside.

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