From Cars to Culture

John Hill
1. December 2020
Photo: Timothy Burgess (All images courtesy of MPavilion)

Without a new temporary pavilion this season — the first time in its short history — MPavilion is taking up residency in Parkade Carpark, an architecturally significant parking garage in Melbourne designed by Peter McIntyre.

The parking garage, built sometime in the 1960s, is walking distance from MPavilion's usual location, Queen Victoria Gardens. Since 2014, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has annually constructed a pavilion in the park, each year designed by a different architect, from Sean Godsell to Glenn Murcutt, with Rem Koolhaas and others in between. Each summer, the structures are the settings for four months of free events, after which they are donated to a Melbourne institution. 

Yet, just as the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped cultural institutions with permanent homes, MPavilion has paused its namesake pavilion, instead reusing the Parkade Carpark for its program of "public events and community experiences." It will host events, workshops, and performances inside the open-air structure starting January 8, 2021.

Photo: Timothy Burgess

MPavilion's residency in Parkade is fitting, given that the theme of its January program is "Preservation: Propagating Knowledge." The events held at Parkade throughout the month will address the question, "What meaningful ways can we tend valuable knowledge, empower emerging generations, and use the past as a tool for the future?"

Architect Peter McIntyre, of McIntyre Partnership, is enthusiastic about MPavilion moving in, calling it "a very imaginative idea" in a statement. He added: "It’s a useful thing to do with it because cars are on their way out. In the end, looking back on it, it is a true modernist building. It followed those very early principles of modernism in that it was clearly functional, no-frills, no decoration, in some senses, very brutal. It’s very complimentary that we are going to have MPavilion gathering there, and I never imagined that happening!"

Image showing a sign for Kings Parkade (Photo: City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection)

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