Civic service: John Wardle’s ephemeral pavilion for Melbourne

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

ephemeral pavilion
The ephemeral pavilion by John Wardle Architects for Melbourne’s 2015 Summer Architecture Exhibition forms a theatrical centrepiece in NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden
(Image credit: John Gollings)

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. 

ceiling of translucent orange, pink and purple polypropylene ‘blossoms

A sweeping ‘ceiling’ of translucent orange, pink and purple polypropylene ‘blossoms’ create playful geometric patterns, reflected in the colourful shade

(Image credit: John Gollings)

civic place for performance

The evocative grid shell provides a temporary civic place for performance, retreat and reflection

(Image credit: John Gollings)

Huge sculptures

Nestled amongst the sculptures at the Grollo Equiset Garden, the pavilion blurs the boundaries between formal galleries and outdoor spaces

(Image credit: John Gollings)

Chairs and table

Merging craft with technology, the 1650 die cut, hand folded polypropylene shade elements are attached with 6600 eyelets and 3300 laser cut cleats

(Image credit: John Gollings)

ephemeral pavilion

The colourful vibrancy is maintained by discreetly integrated lighting for nocturnal radiance

(Image credit: John Gollings)

The 2015 Summer Architecture Commission will run until 1 May 2016

Photography: John Gollings


NGV International
Grollo Equiset Garden
180 St Kilda Road