News / Education

Is it a UFO, or is it art that has landed at RMIT?

MPavilion installation finds permanent home at Brunswick campus

The new MPavilion 9 installation at RMIT University in Brunswick.

Brunswick Voice

AN unusual fixed object has been spotted at the RMIT University campus in Brunswick, but don’t be alarmed: this UFO comes in peace.

The campus is the new home to MPavilion 9, a striking sculptural architectural work that was installed in the central courtyard in May.

MPavilion is an architecture commission which invites architects from Australia and across the world to design a meeting place.

The new work, which was designed by Rachaporn Choochuey of Bangkok-based architecture studio all(zone), was gifted to the university by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, which has funded Mpavilion since 2014.

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Commissioned in 2022, the piece was originally located at the Queen Victoria Gardens opposite the National Gallery of Victoria in St Kilda Road for five months and has been relocated permanently to RMIT Brunswick.

The piece experiments with materials and forms used for the first time in Australia, using engineering and manufacturing techniques which are claimed to be more complex than a building.

It is made of an outer layer built from fishing nets which gives the structure its profile.

The middle layer is crafted from a cutting-edge STFE membrane supplied by French manufacturer Serge Ferrari. As transparent as glass but 10 times lighter, this polyarylate mesh reduces glare and keeps the MPavilion weatherproof, and is the first time it has been used in Australia.

The bottom layer features a waffle of coloured fabric, made up of 48 individual sections, that move with the breeze and filter light, evoking the feeling of gently resting under trees.

all(zone) worked closely with Melbourne-based ZILKA Studio – led by RMIT academic Leanne Zilka – as well as Tensys and AECOM. The installation was led by Hassell and Kane Constructions.

“The engineering and manufacturing have been a huge step forward for us in understanding the possibilities of fabric-based architecture,” Choochuey said at the time it was originally installed at the Queen Victoria Gardens.

RMIT University’s Executive Director for Policy, Strategy and Impact, Tom Bentley said MPavilion now occupied the heart of the Brunswick campus.

“Its vibrant colours and gorgeous canopy are a brilliant example of design innovation and its experimental use of material and form provides our students, staff and visitors with creative inspiration,” he said.

“We look forward to MPavilion RMIT becoming another way that we come together and connect through place with our local community here in Brunswick.”

The installation is open to all Brunswick residents between 7.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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