Amanda Levete's forest-like MPavilion opens in Melbourne

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Amanda Levete's tree canopy-like MPavilion opens in Melbourne

Fibreglass petals overlap to create the transparent roof of Amanda Levete's forest-inspired MPavilion, which opened to the public today in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens (+ movie).

M Pavilion by AL_A

Over forty fibreglass petals are joined on slender columns to form the gently swaying pavilion by London-based architect Levete, whose firm AL_A is also currently working a new subterranean extension to the V&A museum.

M Pavilion by AL_A

Billed as Australia's rival to the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, the temporary MPavilion will provide a venue for over 200 free events, ranging from talks and workshops to performances and exhibitions, until its closing date on 7 February 2016.

M Pavilion by AL_A

"Our pavilion is a celebration of those natural shelters where we come together and we have achieved an exceptionally light, open structure that sits gently on the land and allows the light, the wind, and sometimes the rain, to form part of the show," said Levete.

"It is designed to provide a contemplative, personal experience as well as a place to congregate," she added.

M Pavilion by AL_A

AL_A worked with mouldCAM, an Australian firm specialising in fibreglass fabrication, to create the transparent petals that make up the shelter.

M Pavilion by AL_A

Described as a "graceful forest canopy", the overlapping fibreglass petals shade a patch of decking below. The density of the petals decrease towards the edge of the pavilion, allowing sunlight to filter through.

M Pavilion by AL_A

The canopy is made up of 13 large petals and 30 smaller petals with diameters of three and five metres. Each petal is just two millimetres thick and is attached to the top of a network of 95 carbon fibre stalks that allow the canopy to sway gently in the wind.

M Pavilion by AL_A

"We conceived it as a tree canopy that lets in dappled light through this quite complex structure formed from a series of interlinked petals," Levete told Dezeen earlier this year.

M Pavilion by AL_A

"The roof is very lightweight so that when there's a breeze the whole thing moves," she added. "We've turned the top of the canopy into an amplifier, to amplify the sound."

M Pavilion by AL_A

LEDs within the transparent petals are activated at sundown, illuminating the structure at night. The lights synchronise with music creating a nightly soundscape created in collaboration between the architect, lighting designer Ben Cobham and sound artist Matthias Schack-Arnott of Speak Percussion.

M Pavilion by AL_A

This is the second of four pavilions commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, an arts fund that is also supporting the V&A's David Bowie exhibition at the Australian Centre for Moving Image and the new Australian Pavilion in Venice by Denton Corker Marshall.

M Pavilion by AL_A

The foundation commissioned Sean Godsell to design the inaugural MPavilion in 2014, a metallic box with automated flap-like panels that folded from the walls and roof.

Photography is by John Gollings. Drone video footage by Radar Kane and Flying Dragon Aerial Cinematography.


Project credits:

Architecture: AL_A
Collaborators: Arup, mouldCAM
Construction: Kane Construction