The Naomi Milgrom Foundation‘s flagship project, MPavilion, has revealed its tenth edition, MPavilion 10, which has been designed by the renowned Pritzker Prize-winner Tadao Ando. The project is unveiled today, 16 November, 2023, and will run until March 28, 2024, in Queen Victoria Gardens, Australia. This edition is particularly significant as it marks Ando’s first project in Australia, showcasing his distinctive style of incorporating bold geometric elements into natural surroundings and his expert use of concrete.
Conceived as a new meeting place within Melbourne’s cultural and botanic garden precinct, Ando’s design for MPavilion encapsulates his desire to create a memorable structure that responds directly to the park setting. It strives for spatial purity, employing the geometry of circles and squares to create a space in harmony with nature.
MPavilion 10 features a large canopy, a 14.4-metre diameter aluminum-clad disc resting on a central concrete column. Two offset squares create two entrances that lead to the centre of the pavilion. Concrete walls of varying lengths partially enclose the space to create a tranquil sanctuary reminiscent of a traditional Japanese walled garden. A long (almost 17 metre x .225 metre) horizontal opening running both the length of the north and south walls frames views of downtown Melbourne and the parklands, connecting the city and lush greenery of Queen Victoria Gardens to MPavilion’s interior.
The geometric forms and symmetry are reinforced by an internal arrangement that is half paved, and half reflecting pool, which mirrors the pavilion canopy, sky, city, and surrounding nature. A precast concrete bench runs the full length of the southern wall, positioned for visitors to sit and look across the reflective pool and through the opening to views of the gardens and the Melbourne skyline beyond.
Ando’s design for MPavilion 10 began with a desire to create an eternally memorable structure that responds directly to the park in which the pavilion is situated. Ando strove for spatial purity, employing the geometry of circles and squares to create a gathering place that is in harmony with nature while encouraging dialogue among individuals who gather to experience the unique space.
“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,”says Tadao.
The program consists of more than 150 free events that involve numerous collaborators. These events are carefully selected and organized around three main themes. During the months of November and December 2023, the programming will focus on exploring the concept of Memories of Place, highlighting the interconnectedness between water, gardens, and the ever-changing landscapes. It will also delve into the significance of nurturing these elements and the stories they hold. Moving into January and February 2024, the festival will pay tribute to Craftsmanship, showcasing the skills and dedication of those who practice it, as well as the artistic value it brings. Finally, in March 2024, the festival will conclude with A Blank Canvas, a celebration of Ando’s design philosophy. This event will emphasize the power of minimalism, the ingenious conception of space, and the skillful use of light, shadow, and water to ignite creativity.