2015 Summer Architecture Commission – John Wardle Architects

Pretty in pink! Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria unveils a futuristic fuchsia pavilion for summer...

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

With summer approaching in the southern hemisphere, it's the season for perky, pleasing alfresco pavilions. Luckily, Melbourne's John Wardle Architects (JWA) has channelled the zeitgeist, unveiling a soaring, nine-metre-high pink pavilion commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria today. Designed and made in Melbourne, the ephemeral space will host parties, live music performances, talks, workshops, children's activities and picnics over spring and summer, offering a theatrical centrepiece and shady retreat by day, and a striking glow by night.

Adorned with 1,350 hand-folded fuchsia-coloured blooms, the 2015 Summer Architecture Commission pavilion was inspired by the sweeping lines and airy form of the city's 1959-designed Sidney Myer Music Bowl ('an iconic Melbourne building that is an amazing, graceful, exuberant and incredibly innovative piece of civic design of that era', according to JWA). The new pavilion is intended to envelop visitors in rosy, kaleidoscopic pink light as they stand under the 18-metre-wide translucent canopy, formed from origami-like polypropylene (a sustainable, recyclable, eco-friendly material used in Australia's polymer bank notes).

Teaming a low-tech timber frame with a high-tech layer of precision-cut steel, it blends the handmade and the digital, with individually suspended 3D pink polypropylene elements creating its seductive skin. Its open-sided shape – lifting dramatically on high arches – suggests easy, breezy living, but behind the scenes smart 3D modelling and cutting-edge engineering and fabrication make the magic happen. 'Similar to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, a high level of engineering sophistication and material specificity is integral to the design in order to delicately balance the duality of span and strength,' says John Wardle. 'We also asked ourselves could it be disassembled and reassembled? Could it provide for other uses?'

The pavilion is part of a new annual NGV project which sees emerging and established architects and designers invited to create a cutting-edge installation or temporary structure for the gallery, to display in the NGV International's Grollo Equiset Garden. So think pink and check it out...
ngv.vic.gov.au

The 2015 Summer Architecture Commission: John Wardle Architects is at the NGV International, Melbourne, from 24 September 2015 to 1 May 2016. Open daily 10am-5pm, free entry.