Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) have used a unique blend of Queensland surfboard resin and Finnish carbon fibre rods to create a "forest canopy" for Melbourne's second annual MPavilion.
The temporary installation, unveiled to the city at the Queen Victoria Gardens on 5 October, will be open to the public for the next four months and will host more than 200 free events under its shade canopy made from the unique composite material.
It features 43 translucent petals, 13 with five-metre spans and 30 with three-metre spans, made out of ultra-thin translucent resin developed by a Queensland surfboard manufacturer and reinforced carbon fibre strands developed by a Finnish manufacturer of camera tripods.
At night the petals, which are only a few millimetres thick, glow in a halo-like effect created by LED strip forming from the capital to the column. The petals also feature speakers and play sound, with all wiring hidden within the 95 slender carbon fibre columns.
Amanda Levete commented on her firm’s achievement: “I’m delighted that the 2015 MPavilion can now be shared with the public. Our Pavilion is a celebration of those natural shelters where we come together and we have achieved an exceptionally light, open structure that sits gently on the land and allows the light, the wind, and sometimes the rain, to form part of the show. It is designed to provide a contemplative, personal experience as well as a place to congregate.
“Composite technology has revolutionized engineering industries such as aerospace and has the potential to do the same for construction. The use of composites enables structures of unprecedented lightness combined with great strength and the potential applications in architecture are tantalizingly unexplored. Composites are particularly exciting for AL_A because the sector is propelled by research into new techniques and processes that in turn give rise to new formal and expressive possibilities for us to discover."
The MPavilion will remain open until 7 February, 2016, and will be feature 200-plus free events. More information on the events here.
Photography by John Gollings.