NAAU studio has completed concept design for a new pavilion for the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Victoria’s sculpture garden in Melbourne
The scheme imagines the city as an archive from which the threads of architectural speculation might be drawn.
Rather than a mute backdrop we propose that the site of the pavilion is considered instrumental in the formation of the pavilion.
The physical context of the city is ‘folded’ into the garden, carrying with it the specific cultural-material detritus of Melbourne.
The pavilion is designed to be an artefact of the city, an archaeology of its built culture, and a scaffold for its future production.
Within the discipline of architecture the pavilion has replaced the house as the site of radical experimentation, often resulting in the abandonment of critical dimensions of design in pursuit of abstract material effects.
The architectural oeuvre of Melbourne is rooted in a deep engagement with its material culture and as such we propose that the next NGV pavilion should engage with this terrain as the basis for a design speculation.
Towards this end, the design references and draws on the built landscape of Melbourne, viewing the city as a rheological construct to be deformed and manipulated.
A panoramic city tracing taken from the project site becomes the principal generative agent, forming the pavilion enclosure through the carving of solid mass reminiscent of Roy Ground’s original family of form towards three points on the site.
Through the formation of a pavilion that traces its surroundings, we seek to engage the city in a self-reflexive process of creation. The formal by-product of this operation becomes the site of new cultural production, which in turn shapes the future form of the city.
The pavilion is organised into two sectional parts. The undercroft, formed from the city silhouette, provides a sheltered seating space, organised around the three columns.
The canopy of the pavilion becomes a ‘service’ space that supports and activates the ground plane below. The principle structural trusses double as a lighting grid form which it is possible to suspend an array of equipment to support events taking place below.
Light, sound, projections, sensors and other equipment can be hung freely in the open space above the timber vaults, creating a diffuse effect. Alternately, the irregular openings in the vaults provide space for equipment to be lowered down below ceiling level, to serve events directly within the space.
The programmed canopy allows the pavilion to extend beyond the aesthetic, facilitating a range of potential uses including lectures, symposia, performances, etc.
John Doyle, Ben Milbourne, Lars Erik Elseth, Letizia Muccini