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Rem Koolhaas' MPavilion design uses cityscape as a stage

Source: theage.com.au

Architects Rem Koolhaas​ and David Gianotten​ took a broader view of the MPavilion when they were asked to design the 2017 iteration of Melbourne's pop-up project in the city's Queen Victoria Gardens.

 

A circular amphitheatre shrouded by plants and topped with a floating aluminium grid, the structure is vastly different to the project's previous iterations since 2014 – by Australian architect Sean Godsell (steel with automated panels)​, Briton Amanda Levete (an ultra-thin canopy) and India's Bijoy Jain (a bamboo hut).

 

The Dutch designers from architecture firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (or OMA, co-founded by Koolhaas, one of the world's biggest names in architecture, in the 1970s) embraced the site's surroundings and incorporated flexibility to take one of its two tiered grandstands outside the structure and into the gardens.

 

"We wanted to make a place rather than an object," says Gianotten of their design. "If you look at the first three MPavilions, they were very architectural and technical.

 

"We really wanted to make a place in the garden for debate and exchange, so we took a bit of a different [tack].

 

"The smaller part of the seating can be rotating and faces towards the park with the city as a backdrop. You can use the lawn and other space[s] ... around the pavilion.

 

"The grid itself is made out of aluminium and very strong. It's more or less a theatre rig, a base where you can hang things from and animate the stage from, a technical grid for lighting and everything.

 

"It has roof heating. We wanted it to be more like a technical top to it rather than a roof, so you can have all kinds of technical possibilities.

 

"It's slightly reflective because that is obviously the thing that you can see from afar. The idea is to have it always open. There are no walls, you can approach it in any time.

 

"It's a good space and hopefully the city backdrop is important and will be mentioned in debates about the city and what the direction of Melbourne could be, and using the city as a stage."

 

The pair have also designed a series of events with MPavilion​ founder Naomi Milgrom​'s foundation, under the banner of Living Cities Forum, intended to prompt debate.

 

"Rem and I, obviously we are both now in Rotterdam and we work together closely on many projects. One of the things we always do is think from the functional view of the projects.

 

"We start with the foundation [of] 'How do you want to use it? What sort of program do you want to make?' That was the start of our design.

 

"It's not [about] trying to make an object that is architectural and that needs to be seen only, it's really about the program ... that invites artists and performers to engage with the site and use it for performance ...

 

"For us it's very interesting that we provide a tool for others to bake their ideas and inspiration in ... They should steer debate about the city and stimulate ideas from people within the city and engage with it."

 

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