Civic service: John Wardle’s ephemeral pavilion for Melbourne

Civic service: John Wardle’s ephemeral pavilion for Melbourne

John Wardle Architects unveil ephemeral pavilion for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne 

Offering theatrical civic space for performance, retreat and reflection, Melbourne’s vibrant pavilion by John Wardle Architects is the inaugural Summer Architectural Commission for the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) at the Grollo Equiset Garden. ‘This Pavilion we hope will create its own histories but in its inception draws on the histories of other places that have encouraged people to gather together,’ explains Wardle.

Referencing the freeform roof and tensile structure of The Sidney Myer Music Bowl - an outdoor performance venue gifted to Melbourne by its namesake and ‘I Dip’s Me Lid,’ a poem composed by C.J. Dennis to commemorate the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge - the evocative grid shell structure is an amalgam of poetry and form.

The translucent canopy pays homage to Melbourne’s tradition in which great civic spaces are defined by ceilings, with 1650 die cut, hand-folded polypropylene ‘blossoms’ in oranges, pinks and purples adorning the steel armature and echoing the repetitive geometries of the stained glass ceiling in NGV’s Great Hall.

‘We hope that our response to the inaugural NGV Summer Architecture Commission is received by Melbourne and visitors to our city with the good humour that so many involved with its making have invested in it,’ states Wardle. 

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