Melbourne's Architectural Summer

Over the summer months, Melbourne has been a treasure chest of extraordinary architectural experiences. In case you missed them over the break, here is a three pack of summer specials.

MPavilion, by Sean Godsell

Situated in within one of Melbourne’s much celebrated public gardens, the MPavilion was an activity hub for discussions, performances and of course, coffee consumption. The MPavilion, designed by Architect Sean Godsell, is very much in keeping with his design ethos. Refined, distilled and precise, the pavilion is cool and calculating, robust yet light.

For an excellent review of the MPavilion, check out Stuart Harrison’s piece for the Design Files.


This particular MPavilion is the first of four temporary bespoke structures which will be designed and built for a particular summer season. A substantial thank you must be given to the Naomi Milgrom Foundation who will fund these four projects. This bold financial commitment, really highlights Melbourne’s excellent design and architecture culture.

Reflection Model: Shinto Shrine of Itsukushima, by Takahiro Iwasaki

For an architectural model to be a full art exhibit in and of itself, it must be something spectacular. This is clearly the case for Takahrio Iwasaki’s Reflection Model of the Shinto Shrine of Itsukushima. This is the third and largest piece in the series of reflection models which explore the relationship between the building and the reflecting water. The scale and level of detail in this piece is extraordinary. Given the free admission price at the National Gallery of Victoria (International) it is very much a must see.

Shinto Shrine of Itsukushima

The Reflection Model is open to the public at NGV International within the Asian Art Temporary Exhibitions until April 6 2015.

Exxopolis, By Architects Of Air

This piece of temporary architecture, known as a luminarium, is really something that has to be experienced rather than described. It is an inflatable maze of geometric chambers which completely immerses the occupant in an environment of pure and vibrant colours. Inspired by Gothic and Islamic Architecture, Exxopolis is one of twenty different luminaria produced by Architects of Air.

This experience was in someways similar to the enveloping experience of the current James Turrell exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, albeit less refined and more whimsical. This whimsy and vibrancy however makes it particularly popular with young children.


Melbourne has become a remarkable design city in recent years. When we think of this culture we naturally think of our permanent landmarks. Sometimes however the temporary can be even more breathtaking. They feed into the idea of Melbourne as an events hub whilst providing sustenance for deep thought, or a backdrop for summer fun.

Michael Smith is Director of Melbourne architecture firm Atelier Red + Black. This article originally appeared on The Red and Black Architect blog.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.