Haven’t you always wanted to run through all that foam at the car lovers? Would you do it if there wasn’t another car waiting?
The project titled ‘Haven’t you always wanted …?’ is a temporary pavilion and was the winning entry from a two stage open national competition held in 2016 by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The competition brief asked architects “to consider innovative ways to activate one of Melbourne’s great civic spaces, the Grollo Equiset Garden
with a thought-provoking work of temporary architecture”.
‘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’.
The typology of the DIY car wash is adopted at full scale and undergoes a transformation – dematerialising and becoming ghostly in the visual field. Is this the folly in the garden or what the suburbs would look like if for some reason the roads were covered with grass? 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. There is an invitation in the project to participate and engage. You want to move around it because it constantly changes depending on where you are located. Banal, familiar and readily available materials are used and redeployed as saturated ornament.
In the pavilion, a saturation of disparate conditions can co-exist offering a curious state that doesn’t quite make sense. It asks ‘what if…?’. What if the scale of the suburbs landed in the NGV courtyard? What if architecture could dematerialise? What might an uncertain condition look like and feel like? What joy can we take in an abundance of overlaid grids, cricket nets, mist, porosity and ghostly visual effects? What if the road came to life with vivid pink AstroTurf? What if you were immersed in a grotto-like field of translucent red? What if architecture shivered ever so slightly in the wind?