As Australia's answer to the Serpentine Pavilion, London's world-famous program of temporary summer architecture exhibitions, Melbourne's relatively new MPavilion series has a ways to go after starting last year. But today's release of the 2015 design, a high-tech artificial forest conceived by Amanda Levete, suggests the program has gotten off to a good start. Set to open October 5 in a clearing in the middle of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens, Levete's concept consists of a canopy of translucent, carbon fiber flower petals—so thin they'll sway in a gentle breeze—that will light up and illuminate the park while broadcasting field recordings through a series of speakers wired through the stalk of each plant.
All renderings via AL_A
Levete's design, based on cutting-edge nautical technology developed with Arup and mouldCAM, offers another experimental work from the prize-winning British architect known for her embrace of technology. One of her most famous designs, the curvaceous Lord's Media Center, an aluminum press box that looks like the hull of a spaceship, was built in a naval yard in 1999 and later won the Stirling Prize, the UK's most prestigious architecture award.
Supported by the foundation of Naomi Milgrom, a successful clothing retailer, the MPavilion program commissions a designer to create a space that serves as a centerpiece for a four-month festival of design and architecture programming. The foundation then donates the structure to Melbourne, seeking to create a permanent design legacy for the city. Last year's pavilion by Sean Godsell Architects, an aluminum box with extendable roof panels that bloomed in response to sunlight, won the Australian Institute of Architect's 2015 Victorian Architecture Award in the Small Project Architecture Category.