Melbourne's MPavilion is launched today

Melbourne's MPavilion is launched today
Mark BaljakOctober 4, 2015

Located in the Queen Victoria Gardens, MPavilion will officially be opened today with the event to be defined by its temporary architectural structure. Following in the footsteps of Sean Godsell Architects' 2014 commission, British design firm AL_A have produced this year's pavilion which will stand until the event's completion in February 2016.

Each year over a stretch of four years, an architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens. AL_A snared the second pavilion which will be free for the public to visit as of today.

Employing cutting edge technology, the MPavilion 2015/16 seeks to mimic the surrounding forest canopy of the Queen Victoria Gardens, while also illuminating during the evening.

MPavilion design

Assemble Papers explored the MPavilion design recently, with excerpts from their article below.

The roof of AL_A’s pavilion will be comprised of vanishingly thin, translucent petals up to five metres in diameter but only three millimetres thick. Slender 40mm wide columns, made from carbon fibre tubes developed for camera tripods, will form the supports.

At night, hidden LEDs will light the petals from within. To build this dramatically dematerialised structure, AL_A is working collaboratively with mouldCAM, a marine fabrication specialist, and the Australian office of engineering firm ARUP. Together, the team has developed a composite that combines a clear resin used for surfboards with carbon fibre strands, to achieve both translucency, and the flexibility and strength needed for the petals’ five metre spans.

Assemble Papers
Melbourne's MPavilion is launched today
AL_A's preliminary images for MPavilion

MPavilion will be a strange hybrid of high technology and organic form. It too, will prompt curiosity, drawing attention to both itself and an otherwise oft-overlooked part of the city, in this case Victoria Gardens.

In service of the idea of the pavilion as a tree canopy, or as a building that responds dynamically to the climate, though, AL_A has made a brave move: the pavilion will have no walls. Given Melbourne’s fickle weather, this commitment to conceptual purity is risky.

Assemble Papers

The architect says

The brief is a great opportunity to design a structure that responds to the climate and the landscape. I wanted to exploit the temporary nature of the pavilion form and produce a design that speaks in response to the weather. Rooting the pavilion in its parkland setting, I looked to create the sensation of a forest canopy in the heart of the city that gives shelter to a program of events.

At AL_A, we have a long history of working with boat builders, and Australia has some of the finest. We’re working with a nautical fabricator to employ the boundary-pushing technology of composite materials to create the canopy, which is made up of a number of seemingly fragile, translucent petals supported by impossibly slender columns that gently sway in the breeze.

Amanda Levete:

A catalyst for collaboration

MPavilion will act as an events hub that will host dozens of public events from today October 5th through to 7th February 2016. A variety of workshops, talks and installations will occur over the this four month period.

Most interesting is the event titled high-density happiness: building communities set for Wednesday 14th October at 6pm. Featuring Neometro's James Tutton and Dumbo Feather's Madeline Lucas, the conversation will principally explore "Urban social initiatives that encourage collective ownership of inner-city communities".

A full events guide for the 2015/2016 MPavilion is available.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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