NGV Pavilion 2016 entry: John Kachami

NGV Pavilion 2016 entry: John Kachami
Hero Shot.
Laurence DragomirMarch 9, 2016

Following on from last week's piece on Grimshaw's NGV pavilion design, there has been some interest in highlighting other schemes. I was due to present my scheme this week, but will leave that for next week. In its place is a scheme dubbed "Unfamiliar Terrain", prepared by a fellow RMIT School of Architecture alumni, John Kachami.

Unfamiliar Terrain seeks to explore the interplay between rational construction and artistic ambition. A single 1.2m x 1.2m module has been crafted so that, when multiplied, mirrored and rotated, it may evoke emotion and encourage interaction. The pavilion challenges conventional construction and puts forward an alternative dialogue which expresses the elasticity of space and its transformation into an expression via the building fabric.

John Kachami design statement
NGV Pavilion 2016 entry: John Kachami
Suite of drawings. Courtesy John Kachami

Kachami's design for the competition seeks to introduce an intervention which challenges visitors to step into an 'unfamiliar terrain'. It has been designed to "question convention and be questioned", to spark a thought, an action or a reaction which would otherwise not have taken place. In turn its audience affects change in the pavilion by their use of the space, strengthening a dialogue between the two.

The pavilion has been designed as a porous structure which encourages interactions with its garden surrounds in all directions. In doing so it provides a variety of different spaces and heights to promote conversation, seating, interaction and freedom to discuss unfamiliar ideas in an unusual environment.

The performance criteria of a building is also met with the provision of weather protection from both sun and rain so common in Melbourne.

NGV Pavilion 2016 entry: John Kachami
Interior and exterior perspectives. Courtesy John Kachami

The pavilion would be constructed from CNC routed plywood from sustainable sources. The design attempts to showcase how proliferating technologies can facilitate a new paradigm.

Owing to its modular nature it is envisaged that once the pavilion's tenure in the NGV garden is over it can be disassembled into 128 pieces. These pieces may be sold by the NGV shop or given away in a ballot type system.

Each of the pieces may propagate the use and emotion of the pavilion throughout Melbourne and elsewhere. Encouraging thought and expression wherever they are discovered with the potential to become pieces of art in their own right.

NGV Pavilion 2016 entry: John Kachami
Suite of renders. Courtesy John Kachami

The submission acting as a form of manufactured landscape allows for interaction from visitors as a means to dwell, discuss and observe both from within and from out via the apertures, providing a further dimension to the pavilion.

The colours drawing inspiration from the stained glass ceiling of the Great Hall, provide a contrasting visual interest against the backdrop of the NGV and the gardens.

Any other practices or individuals interested in seeing their submissions published on are free to contact us at

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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