M@ STUDIO Architects, an architectural practice led by RMIT staff, will reinvent one of Melbourne’s great civic spaces with a dramatic and thought-provoking structure.
The NGV Architecture Commission is an annual competition that encourages entrants to activate the NGV site by exploring new ideas and demonstrating innovation in material use, fabrication, sustainability and recyclability.
M@ STUDIO’s winning design, a playful hot pink pavilion inspired by a suburban Melbourne car wash, will be installed in the Grollo Equiset Garden in October and will host events, talks, live music and will be available for the general public to live, relax and play.
The structure was based on the dimensions of an actual car wash in Blackburn, in Melbourne’s east, and recontextualises objects of everyday use into an art gallery context.
Built from a lightweight steel body with walls made of layered cricket netting, the car wash consists of five bays covered in pink astro turf, rubberised humps and road markings.
Two of the bays are draped in red plastic curtains, while another features a mist diffuser to give patrons that refreshing car wash feeling. A glittering translucent “car wash” sign sits atop the installation, which has been evocatively titled “Haven’t you always wanted to run through all that foam at the car lovers?”
M@ STUDIO Architects said that they were “thrilled” their quirky design was selected for the commission from over 90 entries. “Open competitions such as this provide a vital platform for architects to experiment and facilitate public discourse around the broader ideas that motivate the specific design explorations.”
Associate Professor Vivian Mitsogianni, co-director of M@ STUDIO Architects and Deputy Dean and Head of RMIT Architecture and Urban Design, said M@ STUDIO was driven by the desire to experiment and test innovative architectural and design ideas.
“The M@ STUDIO project provided an opportunity to further a series of design practice research projects that have been explored in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT,” she said.
“This included the series of ideas developed through the Master of Architecture’s design studios run by Dean Boothroyd and Mark Jacques under the banner of Suburban Realism which explore new models for the expression of the civic through urban design in Melbourne’s future outer suburbs. There were combined with ideas that I have been exploring that focus on ‘dematerialisation’ and the ‘uncertain object’.”
The M@ STUDIO competition team consisted of directors Associate Professor Vivian Mitsogianni and Dean Boothroyd (RMIT architecture design tutor), Professor Mark Jacques (Professor of Architecture – Urbanism), Karla Martinez and Cameron Newnham (RMIT Architecture Associate Lecturers), RMIT architecture graduates Thomas Sheehan and Luke Tuckman, and current architecture students Kerry Kounnapisand Leona Dusanovic. “It’s a partnership between architectural practice, RMIT students, graduates and researchers, continuing and industry staff who wanted to experiment and test ideas together,” Mitsogianni said.
“This type of collaboration is in keeping with RMIT architecture’s long standing principles of industry engagement as well as venturous design experimentation that aspires to contribute ideas to the wider public and cultural sphere.”
Story: Bradley Dixon