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    Melbourne launches architecture and design pavilion inspired by London’s Serpentine project

    David Wheeldon

    Australia will soon have its own annual architecture and design hub via a temporary pavilion in the style made famous by London’s Serpentine Pavilion.

    The Naomi Milgrom Foundation today announced the major annual contemporary architecture commission and design event for Melbourne, with Australian architect Sean Godsell commissioned to create the inaugural MPavilion in Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens.

    Construction is set to start this month, with the inaugural MPavilion scheduled to be unveiled on Monday 6 October. Then, from October 2014 until 31 January 2015, the pavilion is expected to create a vibrant cultural hub activated by a four-month program of talks, workshops, performances and installations, with all free to the public.

    Godsell described his pavilion design as a simple steel structure with glazed roof and fully automated outer skin.

    MPavilion design concepts by Sean Godsell. 

    “It provides shade and shelter and filers the sun. Its precedent can be seen on distant hills and far horizons in the Australian outback,” he said.

    “The design will incorporate an innovative construction with wall and roof panels that open and close on pneumatic arms.

    “This fully automated ‘outer skin’ means that the pavilion will ‘open’ each morning and ‘close’ at the end of the day in a number of different configurations. Its Exterior skin will be faced in perforated aluminium that reflects light and animates the building.

    “Conceived as architecture that ‘blooms like a flower’ each day and opens to its audience, it also has a mysterious box-like quality at night.”

    The pavilion will be part of the official program of the 2014 Melbourne Festival, populated with an ambitious program of talks and performances throughout the Festival dates and beyond.

    Inspired by the pavilion constructed each summer in London’s Hyde Park, MPavilion is the first major project to be delivered by the recently established Naomi Milgrom Foundation.

    Sean Godsell with Naomi Milgrom. Photographer: Earl Carter

    As part of a landmark public/private partnership with the City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government, the Foundation has committed to funding the design and construction of at least four annual temporary pavilions to be presented in the Gardens across spring and summer each year, before being gifted to the City of Melbourne.

    Naomi Milgrom, Chair of the Foundation, said: “MPavilion will reinforce Melbourne’s standing as a global leader in design and architecture with the creation of a pavilion designed by four outstanding architects over four years. It will be activated with a dynamic public program delivered in collaboration with some of Australia’s most respected cultural organisations.

    “Through my foundation I want to initiate a truly inspirational design and architecture project for Melbourne. I was inspired by London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion program and have sought to take this idea even further by adding a robust cultural program that celebrates design, architecture and creativity in our city,” she said.

    Image: MPavilion

    Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said the project will cement Melbourne’s standing as a major hub for design and architecture in the Asia-Pacific, creating an event that will benefit both Victorians and visitors to our State.

    “The project will also contribute to the Victorian design sector which already generates an estimated $204million in design-related exports annually."

    Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle said he was pleased Melbourne is collaborating with the Foundation on this new design initiative.

    “The Council shares many of the Foundation’s ambitions: enlivening public spaces, developing bold new initiatives, engaging with education and creating high quality design programming,” he said.

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