The Naomi Milgrom Foundation today announced that the fourth annual Melbourne Mpavilion will be designed by Pritzker architect Rem Koolhaas.

It will be the first Australian project for the founding director of Dutch architecture practice, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) but he will work with managing partner, David Gianotten who established a branch office in Australia in 2016 and is currently engaged in the new Perth Museum project in Western Australia.

Like the three Mpavilions before it, the architects have been briefed to design a cultural heart of the city and to follow the lead of the former Mpavilion architects by creating an inspiring space for robust conversation about the role of design in creating equitable and creative cities.

The architects say they’re excited by the brief and chance to continue the architectural legacy the Mpavilion commission has engendered, thanks to previous designers Sean Godsell (2014), Amanda Levete (2015) and Bijoy Jain (2017).

“The Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s Mpavilion is now a project of international significance and we look forward to contributing to the architectural legacy it has engendered,” says a release from Koolhaas and Gianotten.

“We are excited by the brief of designing a cultural heart for the city - a space of public engagement that will spark creativity and discussion, and that will act as a theatre for ideas.”

Koolhaas and Gianotten do have a task ahead if they’re to match the success of the latest Mpavilion, which closed Sunday 18 February. Designed by acclaimed Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai, the bamboo pavilion attracted over 94,000 visitors and hosted more than 487 free events over 139 days.

But on the measure of scale alone, the Mpavilion won’t be an overly daunting task for the OMA pair. Together Koolhaas and Gianotten are responsible for the design and execution of the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, a massive three-theatre event venue currently under construction in the Taiwan capital, and Gianotten is also working with Australia’s Hassell on the design and development of the New Museum in Perth.

Render image of the Taipei Performing Arts Centre due for completion in 2017 

The New Museum in Perth by OMA and Hassell. Image: Hassell and OMA

The pair will also have the OMA payroll to call upon, which has in recent times designed some of the most prolific large scale projects in the world including the Qatar Foundation Headquarters in Doha; Faena District in Miami; London’s Design Museum; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow; Fondazione Prada in Milan; Shenzhen Stock Exchange; De Rotterdam; and CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.

“We always looked at pavilions as key moments in the development of buildings. The ability to do things or test things you cannot do with buildings.” –Rem Koolhaas.

Naomi Milgrom AO, Chair of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation who commissioned OMA to design Mpavilion 2017 commented:

“Rem Koolhaas is one of the world’s most provocative and influential architects. His contribution to the cultural landscape as an urban thinker together with OMA’s multi-disciplinary approach to architecture reflects Mpavilion’s desire to inspire debate about the role of design in building equitable and creative cities.”

Mpavilion 2017 will be the first building designed and constructed by OMA in Australia.

It will open free to the public on 3 October 2017