Melbourne’s MPavilion announces 2021 architects

Melbourne’s MPavilion announces 2021 architects

Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel of MAP Studio have been announced by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to design the 2021 MPavilion in Melbourne, Australia 

With the pandemic disrupting last year’s MPavilion annual plans, more than a year has passed without a new, beloved community-focused architectural structure and cultural laboratory in Melbroune’s Queen Victoria Gardens. But fear not; following up on a different, but equally engaging 2020 programme of events, the commissioner, The Naomi Milgrom Foundation, has just announced the next architecture studio to create a pavilion in the park: Venice-based Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel of Italian architecture practice MAP Studio. 

‘We were surprised and pleased when they invited us to come to Australia to discuss the project,’ recalls Pelzel, one of the two co-founders of the Venice based practice. ‘They had seen our Asplund pavilion as part of the Vatican’s display at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. We went, had several meetings and saw the previous pavilions and the site, and in the end they confirmed to us the commission. The overall mood and passion of the MPavilion’s team is very exciting. It is a project that is very important for the community in Melbourne, an urban sign of the consolidated role of civic place of meeting and inspiration that sets it apart.’

Traudy Pelzel And Francesco Magnani of Map Studio in their studio in Venice
Traudy Pelzel and Francesco Magnani of Map Studio in Venice. Photography: Claudia Rossini

The project has been a while in the making, as the MPavilion design was originally scheduled for construction in 2020. The commission was the culmination of an uplifting couple of years for the young studio (which was founded in 2010); their Vatican Pavilion in Venice indeed received wide critical acclaim and was followed by the prestigious Italian Architect Award in 2018. 

The studio, even though it has built few works outside its home country of Italy, is prolific, focusing on a sensitive approach to historical architecture, restoration and urbanism, while maintaining a sharp, contemporary approach and aesthetic. Its portfolio is varied, including from the refurbishment of 19th century greenhouses in Querini Park, Vincenza, to the outfitting of the National Museum of Musical Instruments in Rome, a new office building in Bologna, and the restoration of Carlo Scarpa’s Balboni House in Venice. 

This sensibility of urban renewal, gentle transformation and sensitive, yet fresh and confident interventions will no doubt bring an exciting twist to the much loved Australian pavilion. Current plans outline that the 2021 MPavilion will open to the public on Thursday 11 November, 2021, while its design will be revealed in advance of that, during July. §

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