Monash University’s MPavilion
Diba Behshad wrote this article as part of their Bachelor of Architectural Design 3rd year elective, MADAboutMADA. In the elective, students are introduced to digital media and how it can be relevant to the architecture, design and art professions.
The MPavilion is an ongoing architecture project that began in 2014 where every year a temporary pavilion is designed to be placed in the heart of Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Gardens, acting as a free cultural hub for the public to engage in programs during its spring-summer duration. Each of these years a world-renowned architect is commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to design the structure, with one of the most notable being its 2017 design by architects Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA. This prestigious pavilion was gifted by the Foundation to Monash University’s Clayton campus as its permanent home in 2018 in order to benefit the community.
OMA’s MPavilion consists of a flexible design through a movable grandstand, which allows for multiple spacial compositions that can be tailored to the range of events that may take place within. It also consists of an overarching steel-grid canopy which extends from a mound of native plantings and is accompanied by music depending on its current event, enabling the space to pay tribute to the Australian land whilst simultaneously allowing many programme possibilities.
In its permanent location, the pavilion has been used by the community in a number of ways, as it can be booked by anyone who would like to host a free event. Some of these being the installation “Hypnapods” by Michelle Boyd and David Patman, a performance by cellist Judith Hamann, weekly Mindful Meditation sessions, and even occasional movie screenings. All these experiences allow for enriching interactions between members of the public and the university, as they are not limited to just Monash events.
However, many of Monash University’s students are unaware of the pavilions presence and array of programs it offers, as it is located in a space not central to the campus. This means it has the possibility to be overlooked by some students and can result in them missing out on all it has to offer. Although its location may add to the tranquillity of the space and assist in building the ambience of programs, the disadvantage of such can be its failure to catch the attention of the students it is intended for.
Monash University receiving one of OMA’s works is both an honour for the establishment and something that pleases the architects, as Koolhaas and Gianotten state “MPavilion will engage and support the development of Monash University and the City of Melbourne. We look forward to seeing it in its exciting new context” . Its relocation to a university ensures that it would become an active space where students, staff and the wider community may gather to foster ideas in many fields, providing an outlet for their creativity which aligns with the architects and MPavilions initial wishes.
- “Past Events.” Monash.edu. Accessed 09/10/2019. https://www.monash.edu/mpavilion-archive
- “OMA’s 2017 MPavilion gifted to Monash University.” Artsreview.com.au. Accessed 08/10/2019. https://artsreview.com.au/omas-mpavilion-2017-gifted-to-monash-university/