MPavilion (24 01 24)

MPavilion 10: Design

MPavilion 10: Design

designed by tadao ando

designed by tadao ando

We are enormously proud to unveil our tenth MPavilion designed by Pritzker Prize Laureate Tadao Ando. MPavilion 10 represents the inimitable Japanese architect’s first Australian project.

I wanted to create an experience that will last forever in the hearts of all who visit… I imagined an architecture of emptiness that lets light and breeze enter and breathe life into it. A place that resonates with the environment, becomes one with the garden and blossoms with infinite creativity.

the design

Ando’s MPavilion 10 reflects his signature use of geometric intervention in nature. His process started with an interpretation of memory of place, something that transcends individual emotion to encompass a social dimension—which is why people across the world are awed and drawn in by his architecture.

“Tadao Ando’s architecture is remarkable because it radically affects the way we perceive the world around us,” shared Naomi Milgrom AC, founder of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and commissioner of MPavilion 10. “Like Ando, I am passionate about architecture that promotes public life and social interaction—and I’m thrilled that Australians will be able to directly experience his genius through this incredibly special space for conversation, exchange and contemplation.”

Conceived as a meeting place within Melbourne’s Arts Precinct, Ando’s MPavilion 10 expresses his desire to create a memorable structure in direct response to the landscape. It strives for spatial purity, using circles and squares to conjure a space in harmony with nature.

The design features a large canopy: a 14.4-metre aluminium-clad disc resting on a central column. Offset squares create two entrances that lead to the centre of the structure. Concrete walls of varying lengths partially enclose the space to form a sanctuary reminiscent of a Japanese walled garden—in Ando’s words, “a space to reflect, interact and appreciate that which is contained within, be it nature, art or people.”

A long horizontal opening running the length of both north and south walls serves to frame views of Melbourne’s skyline and parklands, connecting the city and Queen Victoria Gardens to the structure’s interior. Its geometric forms and symmetry are underscored by an internal arrangement that is half-paved and half-reflecting pool, mirroring the canopy, sky, city and surrounds.

“The consistent factor in my work is my interest in light,” Ando added. “For MPavilion, the spatial sequence of circles and squares will create spatial sequences of light and dark. These will change during the day and seasons as the sun moves through the sky. The surfaces the light touches will also change—walls will reveal arresting patterns of shadow, while the water from the reflecting pool may cast dappled patterns on a previously plain surface.”

Esteemed Australian architect Sean Godsell, Principal of Sean Godsell Architects, has been appointed Executive Architect in Australia for MPavilion 10—Godsell was also our architect for MPavilion 1 in 2014–15.

Led by Tadao Ando, the construction of MPavilion 10 represents a significant global collaboration between Japanese and Australian architects, engineers and builders; Osaka, home to Ando’s office, is Melbourne’s sister city.

MPavilion is Australia’s leading architecture commission: a place for conversation, collaboration and experimentation around the design of today and tomorrow. It celebrates a decade as the country’s cultural laboratory in 2023.

Expressions of interest for programming MPavilion’s tenth season are now open. Celebrate with us by hosting a workshop, talk, debate, performance, presentation, installation or intervention. Our program will be curated into three themes inspired by Ando’s design: A Blank Canvas, Craftsmanship and Memories of Place. Proposals should respond accordingly and be submitted here by 5pm 14 June 2023.

MPavilion is an ongoing initiative of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne, ANZ and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

In its first decade, it has become one of Australia’s most anticipated design festivals—attracting over 1,250,000 visitors, with 350,000 in 2022 alone. Accessible and open, MPavilion is both of and for the community: hosting 3,400 events with 4,000 individuals and organisations during this period.

Tadao Ando’s MPavilion 10 opens this summer. We can’t wait to come together and celebrate our milestone tenth year with you.


MPavilion 2023, Melbourne, designed by Tadao Ando, photo by John Gollings
Image by John Gollings



The design for the MPavilion began with a desire to find a scene of eternity within the oasis of Melbourne, the Queen Victoria Gardens. Eternal, not in material or structure, but in the memory of a landscape that will continue to live in people’s hearts.

To reflect the lively nature of the site, like a blank canvas, I imagined an architecture of emptiness. Pure geometry outlines the composition of this design. Ancient Egyptians used fundamental geometry to create ordered spaces and structures in the natural world.

Geometry formed the foundation of philosophical study in ancient Greece. It is the expression of human reason and the pursuit of ethereal space. With the circle and square, emptiness is given form.

The emptiness, in its silence, lets the light and wind enter and breathe life into the space.

The emptiness provokes a chance encounter between individuals and engenders dialogues. The emptiness resonates with the environment, becomes one with the garden, and blossoms into a microcosmos of infinite creativity.

MPavilion 2023, Melbourne, designed by Tadao Ando, photo by John Gollings
Image by John Gollings

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which MPavilion stands. We pay our respects to their Elders, past and present – and recognise they have been creating, telling stories and caring for Country for thousands of generations.

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