MPavilion 2019 opens

MPavilion 2019, designed by Australia’s only Pritzker Architecture Prize recipient Glenn Murcutt AO, opened today in the Queen Victoria Gardens. Internationally influential for his environmentally responsible designs with a distinctive Australian character, Murcutt’s MPavilion heralds a milestone in the architect’s fifty-year career as his first civic city design. Initiated and commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from the City of Melbourne, Victorian State Government through Creative Victoria and Development Victoria, ANZ and RACV. MPavilion 2019 is the sixth in an ongoing series of annual architect-designed summer pavilions for Melbourne. Inspired by Murcutt’s career, MPavilion this year celebrates Australian design and identity with a free four-month season of events from 14 November 2019 to 22 March 2020.

MPavilion 2019 was officially opened by MPavilion founder Naomi Milgrom AO, architect Glenn Murcutt AO and City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. The opening event was commemorated with a specially commissioned Welcome to Country song by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO, followed by the RMIT Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Showcase, beginning an Opening Weekend of celebrations.

Naomi Milgrom AO, chair of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, who commissioned Glenn Murcutt to design MPavilion 2019, said: “Glenn’s fifty-year practice has inspired a new movement in thinking about climate-responsive design. His MPavilion refines the Australian characteristics we’ve all come to love about his buildings and provokes a conversation about how Australian design can lead a growing international conversation about the future of cities.”

Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne Sally Capp said: “The City of Melbourne is a proud supporter of MPavilion and its contribution to our vibrant creative community. The choice of Glenn Murcutt as the architect of this year is especially exciting and enhances Melbourne’s enviable reputation as a design capital. MPavilion’s season of free events and talks on arts, architecture, science and technology makes it one of the highlights of spring and summer for Melbournians and visitors alike.”

Glenn Murcutt said: “I felt a crisp white building that at night could be lit from within its roof — like a lantern in the Queen Victoria Gardens, giving the pavilion a feeling of lightness — would sit comfortably in the location. Having the pavilion face north, open towards the river, I could work with good climatic conditions. This also means that from within the MPavilion one can view the gardens to the river and the city.”

MPavilion 2019 relays Murcutt’s longstanding interest in linear buildings that make efficient use of researched site and climatic conditions. Prioritising a view of the Yarra River and city skyline with weather-effective design elements, the MPavilion consists of a rectangular plan and round steel columns supporting wing-like trusses wrapped in translucent tensile membrane, shaping a buoyant white roof that will be lit from within at night. The result is a sleek and adaptable MPavilion resting on the landscape.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “The Victorian Government is proud to support MPavillion, a much-anticipated summer fixture for our city. In addition to the particularly Australian referenced pavilion that frames its location so well, this year’s program offers an extraordinary array of free events for all people to enjoy.”

During the Opening Weekend events, Glenn Murcutt will appear in conversation with Naomi Milgrom and journalist and author Virginia Trioli on Saturday 16 November, 3.30–4.30pm. Murcutt will also speak in conversation with architect Shelley Penn at the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Design on Thursday 13 November, 7–8pm.    Murcutt’s design has inspired MPavilion’s program themes for its 2019/20 season of free events: Nov—Australian Design: Identity and Cultural Collaboration; Dec—Connection: Instruments of Harmonious Living; Jan—Unplugged: Energy Without Electricity; Feb—Earth: A Place of Reconciliation, a Reconciliation of Place; and Mar—Knowledge: Shared Learning, Shared Power.

The MPavilion 2019 season of free events features hundreds of international and local collaborators, spanning talks, workshops, performances, kid-friendly experiences and community projects. This year, MPavilion continues its BLAKitecture series of Indigenous design forums, and welcomes its 2019 Artist in Residence, Beci Orpin, who has also designed the MPavilion 2019 Kiosk staff uniform in collaboration with The Social Studio. Renowned Melbourne designer Chris Connell has designed the ‘MP Stool’ in collaboration with grazia&co for use at MPavilion during the season and will also be leading a drawing workshop Thursday 28 November, 6-7pm.

Further collaborators to the MPavilion 2019 program include the Archibald Prize, AsiaTOPA, Melbourne Theatre Company, Royal College of Art, Melbourne Music Week, Climate Emergency Cinema, Heide Museum of Modern Art, the School of Life, Chunky Move, Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Koorie Heritage Trust,Tom & Captain Dog-Walking Adventures, Louvre Museum, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, RMIT, Swinburne, Melbourne and Monash universities, green magazine and 3RRR. With over 200 events announced at the program launch in October, new additions to the program are still to come.

MPavilion is supported by principal partners City of Melbourne, Victorian State Government through Creative Victoria and Development Victoria, and ANZ. It was brought to fruition by Glenn Murcutt AO with structural engineers AECOM, specialist tensile roof fabric advisor Temple Architecture, builders Kane Constructions, building surveyors Gardner Group, lighting designers Bluebottle in collaborationwith JSB Lighting, and visual identity by Studio Ongarato.

Open every day from 9am to 4pm through MPavilion’s season is the onsite licensed kiosk. On Friday nights Melbourne’s favourite DJs and musicians have been invited to play as part of the Sunset Series.The kiosk exclusively stocks Victorian food and beverages, including beer by SAMPLE Brewing, wine by ShadowFax, spirits by Four Pillars Gin, sodas by CAPI and coffee by Three Thousand Thieves. This year MPavilion’s Kiosk recruitment has also involved collaboration with social enterprises Merchant Road and Scarf.

MPavilion 2019 is designed as both a temporary summer pavilion and an enduring architectural creation. At the end of each season, MPavilion is gifted to the people of Victoria and moved to a permanent new home to be engaged by the community in perpetuity, creating an ongoing legacy in Melbourne’s increasingly sophisticated architectural landscape.

For further information including program times, please visit

MPavilion will open free to the public in the Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne, on Thursday 14 November 2019 until Sunday 22 March 2020.

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