MPavilion 2023–24

Thu 16th November, 2023 – Thu 28th March, 2024
Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne VIC 3004
Tadao Ando’s serene architectural commission plays host to hundreds of events over four months, from fashion shows and live performance to ikebana and kids’ workshops.

MPavilion celebrates a milestone this year with its 10th annual architectural commission in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. And all the stops have been pulled out, with Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando commissioned for this year’s striking pavilion, open now until Thursday March 28.

The structure itself reflects Ando’s signature use of geometric interventions in nature and his wisdom, skills and experience working with concrete. With a 14-metre canopy, a semi-enclosed space and a reflective pool inside the structure, Ando’s pavilion is a garden oasis, primed for the packed program of events the MPavilion team has in store over the next few months. Oh, and we forgot to mention – the whole program is free.

The MPavilion season is divided into three themes. The remainder of 2023 is all about “memories of place” – encouraging visitors to encounter, experience, feel and find spiritual bases for creating memories and community. Throughout the season Nyoongar man, writer and curator Michael Gentle will be stationed at MPavilion 10 to compose a written record of the structure and its context.

Across January and February, the focus turns to craftsmanship: the time-honoured traditions of Japanese crafts; the place of technology in craftsmanship; sustainable practices; and more. On Saturday February 3, 2024, long-time MPavilion partner Craft Victoria presents two events: a workshop and a panel discussion exploring the links between contemporary material practice and traditional Japanese craft, including the ancient paper-cloth technique used by DNJ Paper for this year’s MPavilion uniform. Qaymi Arts and Craft also bring ancestral Somali weaving techniques to the pavilion for a collaborative week-long workshop in February.

In March, during the final weeks of the program, it’s all about the idea of the blank canvas. Ando himself has described his concept as “an architecture of emptiness that lets light and breeze enter and breathe life into it”. In an extension of this idea, Japanese ceramicist and artist Yoko Ozawa will create an in-situ installation adapting the concept of the “Zen garden” to the Australian context. Other highlights in March include an evening of poetry readings from emerging poets, curated by Liminal magazine, and RMIT Future Play Lab’s Reworlding: Play the World We Want, bringing an innovative role-playing game to MPavilion and the chance to explore a vision of Melbourne in 2050.

The MTalks series returns as strong as ever this year, with the seventh Blakitecture forum curated by Bradley Kerr, a Quandamooka man, architect, director of design studio Winsor Kerr and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects’ First Nations Advisory Working Group. Founded by architect and curator Sarah Lynn Rees, Blakitecture centres Indigenous voices in conversations about architecture, design and the built environment.

Other program highlights include a family-friendly installation in collaboration with Polyglot Theatre, solo classical concerts every Wednesday in February (thanks to the Australian National Academy of Music), the much-loved DJ101 program led by DJ Sarah (one half of IN2STELLAR), an ikebana workshop with artist and educator Azumi Ishikawa, and events by Tribqu, Inflection journal, Pilates in the Park and more.

Browse the full program and plan your visit.

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