MPavilion helps OMA to open Australian market further

The annual MPavilion, a small but prestigious cultural building for the summer season in Melbourne helps OMA to connect the firm more closely to the Australian market.

‘If you are an office like ours, you are really pushed into bigger things,’ Rem Koolhaas, founder of architecture firm OMA says. ‘For me it is really crucial to do small things not because they are necessarily easier, but because they are often more essential and existential in terms of what architecture really is.’

MPavilion by OMA / photo by John Gollings, Courtesy of MPavilion

Koolhaas is cited by Frame magazine in a story about the MPavilion in Melbourne, an annual pavilion commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. The pavilion hosts a diverse programme of cultural events between October and February.

A space like a tool

The assignment was to create a space within Melbourne’s Victoria Gardens where 250 people could be seated, where debate, performance and initiatives could take place. ‘Our response was to have a space that could be used like a tool – in different ways,’ David Gianotten, managing partner and architect at OMA tells. ‘It needed to offer more than one configuration; and we wanted to create an archetype that everybody understood, that [spanned] cultures and time. The amphitheatre I think is a very clear position of that.’

Two grandstands make different arrangements possible / photo by John Gollings, Courtesy of MPavilion

Based on the ancient amphitheatre model OMA turned the MPavilion into a domain of ‘intensity and debate’. Under the roof structure that almost seems to be floating in the air different arrangements and atmospheres can be made with two grandstands, one static and the other movable. The roof is, says Gianotten, like a theatre grid that offers all kinds of possibilities including light in different colours. 

Grand opening / Photograph by Timothy Burgess, Courtesy of MPavilion

For OMA that already is doing a lot in Australia, the prestigious pavilion helps to connect the firm more closely to the Australian market.

For more on the MPavilion, please visit