MP1: Sean Godsell
The Australian landscape is a confusion of innate brutality and introduced refinement. Polite interventions early in our colonisation ‘civilised’ an otherwise harsh and often hostile environment where unfamiliar botanical species could poison and every bite and sting could kill. The Indigenous landscape is ancient and its sunburnt beauty, once learnt, is never forgotten. Like the landscape itself it is scarred into the hearts and minds of Australians – it is part of us and we, of it. Any man made intervention in the outback symbolises shelter, respite, even salvation and the adaptive use of artifice underpins the tradition of building construction in this country.
The introduced landscape design in cities like Melbourne provides contrast and relief, and in that relief exists another type of beauty – shade, autumnal colour, soothing lushness to offset the incessant dry. Order. Scale. Melbourne is a dense city that is counterbalanced by the vastness of its gardens. They nurture the city in an all enveloping green embrace and provide succour and comfort for all. In summertime our gardens are full of visitors who take advantage of the unencumbered accessibility that sets us apart—no fenced ‘resident’s only’ gardens, no ‘keep off the grass’ signs. Tourists and locals alike take advantage of the ring of green formed by Flagstaff, Treasury, Fitzroy and the Royal Botanical Gardens along with the Domain and our site – the Queen Victoria Gardens, which is directly across St Kilda Road from the National Gallery of Victoria and on a busy pedestrian route to the CBD, Fed Square, the cricket at the MCG, tennis at Melbourne Park and live performances at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
The purpose of the pavilion is to make a place over the summer months for recitals, presentations, lectures, readings and performances in a well-designed and nurturing shelter. The hay sheds and barns, shearers’ sheds and verandahs of the outback are Australia’s meeting rooms and community centres. We congregate in these rudimentary structures and host weddings, balls, meetings about impending drought or inevitable fire. They are potent places. MPavilion 1 is a simple 12m x 12m steel structure with glazed roof and fully automated outer skin. It provides shade and shelter and filters the harsh sun. Its precedent can be seen on distant hills and far horizons in the Australian outback.
— Sean Godsell
Sean Godsell was born in Melbourne in 1960. He graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne in 1984. He spent much of 1985 travelling in Japan and Europe and worked in London from 1986 to 1988 for Sir Denys Lasdun. In 1989 he returned to Melbourne and worked for The Hassell Group. In 1994 he formed Godsell Associates Pty Ltd Architects.
He obtained a Masters of Architecture degree from RMIT University in 1999 entitled ‘The Appropriateness of the Contemporary Australian Dwelling.’ His work has been published in the world’s leading architectural journals including Architectural Review (UK), Architectural Record (USA), Domus (Italy), A+U (Japan), Casabella (Italy), GA Houses (Japan), Detail (Germany), Le Moniteur (France), and Architect (Portugal).