M-Pavilion – Glenn Murcutt

M-Pavilion – Glenn Murcutt


Project specifications

Each year since 2014 an internationally renowned architect has designed a temporary pavilion for the heart of Melbourne, called the M-Pavilion.

In 2019, Glen Murcutt AO asked Pattons to help him construct a design-led, weatherproof floating fabric roof for his construction. It was Murcutt’s first experience with tension membrane construction.

Location: Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne 

Unique challenges

Inspired by having to shelter under an aeroplane wing in Mexico in the 1970s, Murcutt’s unique design called for a very shallow pitch on the membrane roof.

He didn’t want a deep-dished barell-vault shape, it had to be sleek and thin. With tension membrane structures, you usually need lots of fall, so the water runs off it.

To achieve a minimal pitch, our engineering team ran several case studies on FEM / FEA analysis to make sure the fabric wouldn’t pond.

Our engineering analysis focused on member sizing and geometry to get the steel frame to work structurally, and to assist with diverting rain and hail under prestress and extreme weather conditions to avoid ponding and not be visible under wind deflection.


Glenn’s perfection was crucial to the design.

One of the design components was that it actually had encased membranes on both sides. Normal fabric structures have the steel frame with a membrane on the top. These had tension membrane sealings on the top and the bottom to create a lamp effect under light.

We figured out how to create a complete seal, so it glowed like a giant lamp.  It was sealed off so insects couldn’t penetrate the 2 membranes from top and bottom.

Another key component is that the structural integrity of the steelwork encasing the membranes is invisible, apart from some sleek columns which allowed a complete seal for the whole structure.


The pavilion garnered international recognition from across the globe.

The finished construction was described by Designboom as a rectangular plan and round steel columns supporting wing-like trusses wrapped in a translucent tensile membrane, shaping a buoyant white roof lit from within at night.’

We’re incredibly proud of the complex, precise and beautiful result we achieved for the 2019 M-Pavilion and it was an honour to work with Glenn Mucutt.

Get a fast quote for your tender here.

Client: Glenn Murcott
Sector: Commercial, Tension Membrane Structures