MPavilion has unveiled its 10th architecture commission by Tadao Ando – the Japanese architect’s first Australian project – to mark a decade of the flagship initiative by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.
The MPavilion 10 design explores the power of geometry and Ando’s precise fascination with concrete – a signature thread in his architectural practice. “I believe architecture has the power to facilitate connections,” Ando says. “Here in Melbourne, I imagined architecture that could inspire people to realise the wonder of nature surrounding them. A pavilion where the sky, water and nature become one and dialogue is fostered beyond the boundary of the pavilion and into the garden,” he adds.
The pavilion features an aluminium-clad disc resting on a central concrete column that acts as a large canopy. The interior is half-paved, half-reflecting pool.
Beyond the disguised entry, the minimalist concrete pavilion is designed to be sequentially experienced, inviting visitors to arrive and discover, pause and reflect. The concrete walls nod to the traditional Japanese wall garden, while the park and garden are subtly brought within through horizontal openings. The surroundings are also reflected in the bluestone crazy-paved pool, which captures the pavilion canopy, sky and city lights.
Melbourne architecture practice Davidov Architects designed the ‘Circle|Square’ seating selected by Tadao Ando as the MPavilion Chair Commission. “I hope the people of Melbourne and throughout Australia will further contemplate the nature of architecture and culture from the experience here,” Ando says. “If possible, I hope the pavilion will prompt the discussion about such power that architecture has.”
MPavilion 10 will host more than 150 events across a five-month design festival from November 16 – 28 March 2024.
Concrete walls are designed to enclose the space, reflecting a traditional Japanese walled garden.
Horizontal openings in the concrete walls – described as an engineering feat by executive architect Sean Godsell – run the length of the north and south walls.
“I hope that as people visit, they allow this space to enter their hearts and allow their senses to tune into the light and breeze interacting with them and this space. I hope for them an experience of harmony with nature, with themselves, and with others.”
– Tadao Ando
Naomi Milgrom says the pavilion will be a contemplative, temporary refuge from the city bustle and a dynamic venue for discussion and creativity.