The hottest destination this summer is the RMIT and M@ Studio Architects-designed neon pink car wash that has transformed the National Gallery of Victoria’s garden into a magical interactive space.
Haven’t you always wanted…? is the title for the playful pavilion designed by M@ Studio Architects that won the 2016 NGV Architecture Commission through an open national competition that drew more than 90 entries.
M@ Studio Architects is a design research-focused practice led by RMIT University staff, comprising architects, landscape architects, academics and students.
The design team included Associate Professor Vivian Mitsogianni, Deputy Dean and Head of RMIT Architecture and Urban Design, Professor Mark Jacques, Professor of Architecture Urbanism – Industry Fellow, and Dean Boothroyd, a sessional design tutor and principal at NH Architecture, Cameron Newnham, Karla Martinez, and graduates and current students, Kerry Kounnapis, Leona Dusanovic, Luke Tuckman and Thomas Sheehan.
Jacques said the project was “an extraordinary invitation for people to discover, occupy and engage with.”
M@ STUDIO Architects have transplanted a familiar object (a suburban car wash) into an unfamiliar surrounding (the art gallery) allowing the user to explore ideas of ‘uncertain conditions’ and ‘dematerialisation’.
Experience what happens as the sun rises and sets in the ever changing M@ STUDIO pavilion, engaging the public with bubbles, fog, ghostly portals under the warmth of the summer breeze.
Built from a lightweight steel body with walls made of multiple layers of cricket netting, the car wash consists of five bays covered in pink astro turf, rubberised humps and road markings.
One of the bays is comprised of red plastic strips that form the “selfie grotto”, while another features a mist diffuser to create wonderful atmospheric effects.
Mitsogianni said Haven’t you always wanted…? is about imagining a possibility and exuberance of feeling.
“The pavilion is an experiment driven through two longstanding research projects – ‘Suburban Realism’, which explores new models for the expression of the civic in Melbourne’s future outer suburbs, and an exploration of what we’ve termed ‘uncertain conditions’ and ‘dematerialisation,” she said.
“Both of these have been previously tested through research at RMIT, as well as RMIT Architecture Design Studios.
“For this project we undertook additional research in the d___Lab RMIT which we will further develop in the coming months.”
The typology of the DIY car wash is adopted at full scale and undergoes a transformation – dematerialising and becoming ghostly in the visual field.
Mitsogianni explains that instead of providing an object in the garden that can be clearly understood from one position, “we aimed for the 'uncertain object', which can be understood in different ways depending on where it is seen from, and that contains multiple layers of immersive effects and allows high levels of engagement.”
The carwash invites the user to participate and engage.
“You want to move around it because it constantly changes depending on where you are located.” Mitsogianni said.
The hottest destination this summer is RMIT and M@ Studio Architects designed neon pink car wash that has transformed the NGV into a magical and interactive space.
The accompanying virtual reality project transports users to locations within the carwash inside a virtual model of the NGV gardens.
The pavilion project team.
Vivian Mitsogianni, Cameron Newnham, Luke Tuckman, Thomas Sheehan, Dean Boothroyd, Karla Martinez, Mark Jacques, Kerry Kounnapis and Leona Dusanovic with RMIT Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean and Professor Paul Gough.
The pavilion is complemented by a virtual reality (VR) project titled If only…, which simulates a whole day in the pavilion and NGV gardens in just three minutes.
This part of the project is a collaboration that brings together expertise from in the RMIT Centre for Game Design Research, M@ STUDIO Architects and d___Lab RMIT, and focuses on game design experience and architectural design.
“If only… asks what if you could experience the changes you make to an architectural design in real time and from inside the architectural space, and see the effects of the transformation from morning through to evening,” Mitsogianni said.
Associate Professor Stefan Greuter, Director of the Centre for Game Design Research, said the VR experience uses HTC Vive headset technology to allow visitors to freely explore a 3.5m x 3.5m space.
“Users attach the headset and walk to a transporter platform,” he said.
“Once the user steps on the platform they are transported to the first location within the carwash, inside a virtual model of the NGV gardens.
“After a while, the user will experiment with the controller and apply different materials to the body of the virtual pavilion and teleport to different stations.”
The VR experience goes live in December.
NGV director Tony Ellwood says the work is sure to ignite visitors’ imaginations, describing it as “a dream-like interpretation of the suburban car wash”.
“It is shaping up to be one of Melbourne’s landmark destinations over the spring-summer, offering an iconic interactive structure for all to enjoy” he said.
The architectural commission was installed at NGV International on St Kilda Road from November 2016 to April 2017.