Photography, Earl Carter



Melbourne's pneumatic MPavilion opens like a mechanical flower each morning...

The first in a series of temporary pavilions across the parks of Melbourne has opened its pneumatically-operated doors this month in readiness for a programme of summer events. The inaugural MPavilion design, by the international award winning architect Sean Godsell and commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, has been unveiled in Queen Victoria Gardens and will host free public performances, screenings and workshops during its four-month stay, before being gifted to the city. It’s the first major project delivered by the newly-formed Foundation, which has commissioned three further pavilions for the next three years.

Godsell, who won the AIA National Award for Public Architecture for his RMIT Design Hub, explains that his pavilion, inspired by the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, is a simple steel structure with a glazed roof and a fully-automated outer skin. The panels’ positional flexibility and mechanical operation allow for them to be easily configured to meet the needs of individual events, and the perforated aluminium surfaces filter the direct sunlight and provides shade. At night when fully closed the pavilion resembles a mysterious box, opening up like a flower in the morning, and the pavilion site is augmented by a series of contemporary flowering herbaceous borders by landscape designer Paul Bangay. The council plans to relocate the pavilions to permanent sites within the city at the conclusion of each annual season.


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