Rem Koolhaas and his venerated firm, OMA, have designed some of the most innovative structures in the world. Examples of their work include Waterfront City in Dubai, the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, and the Seattle Central Library, to name a few. Each project contains elements of genius, both in terms of architecture and engineering. Which is why many Australians are excited by the news that Koolhaas and OMA have just completed their design for Mpavilion 2017, a temporary structure that will host a range of public cultural events in Melbourne from October 3, 2017, through February 2018.
The newly completed structure is made of two separate parts, one fixed and the other movable. OMA worked in tandem with the engineering firm Arup for the Mpavilion design. In fact, for the past 30 years, most of OMA’s major buildings have been completed in collaboration with the New York–based engineering firm. While OMA’s design appears sleek and modern, the inspiration for the structure was conceived by studying ancient amphitheaters. The roof of the structure, which remains in place, seemingly floats above a rotating grandstand below, allowing visitors to experience performances from a variety of different perspectives. “Our design for Mpavilion is intended to provoke all kinds of activities through its configurable nature and a materiality that relates to its direct surroundings,” explained OMA, in a statement.
Mpavilion, which is now in its fourth year of production, is an initiative of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. Each year, its task has been to commission top architects to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens, in the center of Melbourne’s Southbank Arts Precinct (past pavilions have been designed by such firms as AL_A, the studio of Stirling Prize–winning architect Amanda Levete). The space is intended to bring together a series of creative talks, workshops, performances and installations, for the public to enjoy.
For Melbourne, a city known as the cultural and creative hub of Australia, Mpavilion allows its residents to engage in a conversation about the role that design, architecture, and culture plays in creating a vibrant city. “We are happy that Mpavilion can perform as a theater of debate around the city and its development, and contribute to the ongoing civic discourse of Melbourne,” OMA said in a statement.