The Mpavil­ion cre­ator for 2018, ar­chi­tect Carme Pinós de­signs for light and the lay of the land­scape.

Belle - - Art R I Ght Now - Por­trait SEAN FENNESSY Words KAREN MCCART­NEY

IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG into a con­ver­sa­tion with Span­ish ar­chi­tect Carme Pinós to un­der­stand why she is the Naomi Mil­grom Foun­da­tion’s choice to de­sign the 2018 Mpavil­ion in Mel­bourne’s Queen Vic­to­ria Gar­dens. She is much lauded in the architecture pro­fes­sion be­ing both an Hon­orary Fellow of the Amer­i­can Institute of Ar­chi­tects (2011) and an RIBA In­ter­na­tional Fellow (2013) for her out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­fes­sion. Com­ing af­ter heavy­hit­ters OMA – Rem Kool­haas and David Gian­ot­ten – whose 2017 pav­il­ion has been per­ma­nently sited at Monash Univer­sity, she is the fifth ar­chi­tect to be tapped on the shoul­der for this com­mis­sion.

Her fit for the project is ev­i­dent on so many lev­els. Firstly, is her abil­ity to lis­ten, re­ally lis­ten, and in­ter­pret what the client is ask­ing for. “Yes, you need to be a psychologist to un­der­stand what they want, but also to un­der­stand what fits with you so that you can de­velop em­pa­thy and con­nec­tion,” says Pinós. This is true for her prac­tice, Es­tu­dio Carme Pinós, whether the project is a small eco­nom­i­cal cre­ma­to­rium in the foothills of Montser­rat, north of Barcelona, an am­bi­tious tightly con­strained of­fice tower in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico, or a pro­posed ho­tel com­plex on vir­gin coastal land in Puerto Val­larta, Mex­ico.

Her con­cept for the wa­ter-ac­cess-only Pi­zota Ho­tel in Mex­ico was so rig­or­ously con­sid­ered in terms of its light im­pact on the land­scape along­side max­i­mum in­te­gra­tion with na­ture, that the lin­ear de­sign, which echoed the to­pog­ra­phy, was cho­sen by the Pom­pi­dou Cen­tre to add to their grow­ing col­lec­tion of ar­chi­tec­tural mod­els. While the project didn’t even­tu­ally get the green light, Pinós is san­guine about the out­come. “One project brings ideas to an­other – ev­ery­thing is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she says.

Her modus operandi in terms of cre­ative process is very clearly de­fined. Ini­tially there are the sketches which Pinós uses as a means to crys­tallise an idea, to re­duce it to its el­e­men­tal form. Then small mod­els prove the con­cept. “My build­ings must work like ma­chines; the pro­gram has to be clear and re­solved, only then do we move to the com­puter,” she ex­plains.

While the build­ing forms are of­ten as­sertive from the ex­te­rior, in­side they play with no­tions of move­ment, light and na­ture. The cre­ma­to­rium in Igual­ada, Spain, uses a sub­tle play of el­e­va­tion (in Spain a 50cm plat­form doesn’t re­quire a handrail), and a con­text of aro­matic plants com­bined with a sense of float­ing above the land­scape lifts the spir­its of mourn­ers. Her larger ed­u­ca­tional build­ings open to in­ter­nal court­yards, and cor­ri­dors and pas­sage­ways al­ways lead to­wards light. A dead end is anath­ema to her as it de­notes be­ing trapped and she is very much tuned into a build­ing of­fer­ing up op­tions and a sense of free­dom. These con­cepts are of­ten put to the test such as in the densely ur­ban set­ting of her Cube II of­fice tower in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico, where she has sought sculp­tural value by in­clin­ing the fa­cade to­wards the street in a “bal­anc­ing ges­ture”.

In the de­sign of the Mpavil­ion, all her ex­pe­ri­ences of projects large and small are brought to bear. While she ac­knowl­edges con­tem­plat­ing the project in the ab­stract be­fore her visit to Aus­tralia, it was only when she ex­pe­ri­enced the site that she could see how it was be­ing used, un­der­stand the im­pact of the cli­mate, the sense of ar­rival and the open­ness to the park it­self. En­chanted by the nat­u­ral rolling banks in the park, and how peo­ple grav­i­tated to­wards them, Pinós wanted to make the land­scape, the rain, the sun and shadow an in­te­gral part of the sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence of the pav­il­ion. As a re­sult rainwater is har­nessed in a chan­nel, the earth is drawn up to meet the struc­ture and the origami-style roof pro­vides pro­tec­tion but still al­lows for ex­po­sure to the el­e­ments. “I never like build­ings placed as if an ob­ject; I like a build­ing to feel as if it has roots,” she says.; mpavil­

“I never like build­ings placed as if an ob­ject; I like a build­ing to feel as if it has roots.”

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