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MPavilion 2015 designs by AL_A revealed

Image courtesy of AL_A.

Introducing… MPavilion 2015! We’re delighted to reveal AL_A’s design: an enchanting, highly technical and weather-responsive forest canopy set among the trees and flowers of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens.

Produced in collaboration with Australian manufacturers mouldCAM and builders Kane Constructions, as well as global engineering firm Arup, AL_A’s MPavilion will be built using the latest nautical-engineering technology. Tall and slender carbon-fibre poles that bend and sway in the wind will support a roof of ultra-thin translucent ‘petals’—each three to five metres wide yet just a few millimetres thick. By day, sunlight will spot and speckle through the canopy; by night, LED lights positioned where the poles and petals meet will glow like halos, creating an ambient meeting place that’s ripe for conversations and explorations long after the sun sets.

Elaborating on how the design engages with its parkland setting and takes advantage of a pavilion’s usual temporary nature, AL_A’s Amanda Levete says: “Our design subverts the norms of immovable. It embraces and amplifies such distinctions, so that it speaks in response to the weather and moves with the wind rather than trying to keep it at bay.”

Image courtesy of AL_A.

Image courtesy of AL_A.

MPavilion 2015 will also embrace the best in sound: its petals will function as speakers, capable of recording and playing back the daily soundscape that occurs underneath the canopy. These amplifiers will be wired seamlessly through the carbon-fibre poles, providing what Brendan McNiven, project director at Arup, describes as “an aesthetic and architectural solution to a common design challenge”.

Image courtesy of Kane Constructions. Photo by Kane Jarrod.

Image courtesy of Kane Constructions. Photo by Kane Jarrod.

MPavilion patron Naomi Milgrom is thrilled with AL_A’s interpretation of the brief: “[Amanda’s] pushing of technology and MPavilion’s continued ability to allow experimentation with architecture has been our major emphasis this year.” The design also stays true to the annual commission’s social and cultural legacy for Melbourne: “Architecture is about experience and ultimately enhancing people’s lives—MPavilion 2015 offers people a meeting place for ideas.”

We can’t wait to see AL_A’s high-tech forest canopy swaying in the breeze this summer. See you in the Queen Victoria Gardens from 5 October.