Parks and Pavilions: A Meeting of Landscape and Architecture

The new issue of Architype Review focuses on parks, the spaces designed to explored on foot, and pavilions, the spots from which visitors can take a moment to sit and enjoy the landscape. Some of the best pavilions compliment their setting, creating a unique presence and vantage point. They fundamentally respect the environment while providing a new texture.

As ASLA president Susan Hatchell, FASLA, writes in an op-ed for the issue, “pavilions are an important part of getting people outside. Landscape architects place these shelters to entice people to walk to them, and they are often sited to afford wonderful views to the landscape beyond. Pavilions provide a place to rest along the way, as well as shade to shield us from too much exposure to the sun. They are designed to be accessible, so that all ages and abilities can enjoy a wonderful outdoor setting. Pavilions provide a central location for meeting up with friends, as well as large family reunions. They also serve as outdoor classrooms or performance spaces, or as a quiet place for reading, sketching, or playing a musical instrument while enjoying outdoors.”

A few pavilions highlighted by Architype Review:

Inner Forest by Mexican architect Ivan Juarez (see image above and immediately below) sits within the fjord landscape on the west coast of Norway. Designed in collaboration with the Nordic Artists’ Centre at Dalsåsen, Juarez’s pavilion creates a “connection to the fjords landscape by collecting up materials from the forest floor, mainly pine cones, a material that acquires a symbolic connotation, and carefully stacking them to make an enclosure that wraps the viewer in the textures of the forest while directing the view upward, through the canopy to open sky.” 

The highly sustainable pavilion, which is surely meant to degrade naturally over time, demonstrates the process of building structures, too. The architects had to walk through the forest collecting thousands of pine cones to make the place.

Another amazing project created in nature-loving Norway by architecture firm Snohetta is an observation and information pavilion designed to enable visitors to safely interact with local wildlife. In Dovre, Norway, the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation asked the firm to create a shelter for school groups and visitors, a space where guides could give lectures about the unique animals and history of the Dovre mountain plateau.

Snohetta writes: “Dovrefjell is home to wild reindeer herds, musk oxen, arctic foxes and a variety of endemic botanical species. A long history filled with travellers, hunting traditions, mining and military activities have left their mark on this land. Dovrefjell also holds significant importance in the consciousness of Norway. National legends, myths, poetry, music, and pilgrimages celebrate the mystic, eternal, and grounded qualities of this robust place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are ‘agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!'”

On the building itself, they tell us that “a wooden core is placed within a rectangular frame of raw steel and glass. The core, shaped like rock or ice, is eroded by natural forces like wind and running water. Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of materials so that the building can withstand the harsh climate. The wood core was manufactured using a large scale robot-controlled milling machine based on digital 3D models.”

In Surface Deep, a project organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) landscape architecture department, landscape architecture and architecture grad students united to create an installation near the entry of the Reford Gardens’ Metis International Garden Festival in Quebec that is both a structure and landscape. It’s something to be climbed on.

The student team writes: “The surface is intended to invite visitors to find many personal ways to engage, colonize and interact with the garden (from interacting with its micro moss surface to appropriating the whole surface as a ground). The surface flips in function and association between a wall, a ground, and a cover, while creating multiple orientations and different microclimates for the moss garden.” 

The shapes and curves created a number of microclimates, which then informed the type of moss used in each cranny. “The first 11 units were made with Niphotrichum canescens (a sun-loving species). Unit 12 is planted with Callicladium haldanianum, while the other units remaining (13 to 22) were made with a mixture of Callicladium haldanianum and other shade-loving, forest species such as Pleurozium schreberii, Ptilium crista-castrensis and others.”

The new issue includes a few parks designed by landscape architects, which have been well-covered in LAM, here, and elsewhere: West 8’s Miami Beach Soundscape, Sasaki Associates’ Wilmington Waterfront Park, and The Office of James Burnett’s Sunnylands Center & Gardens all made the cut. A unique play park made of old metal drums by the students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio is certainly worth checking out. There’s a set of iconic pavilions and parks that includes everthing from ancient Japanese wood pavilions to OLIN’s Pershing Square park. Also, check out a few interesting books on pavilions and landscape architecture. 

Image credits: (1-3) Inner Forest / x-studio, (4-6) Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation pavilion / Snohetta, (7-9) Surface Deep / Harvard GSD

3 thoughts on “Parks and Pavilions: A Meeting of Landscape and Architecture

  1. Nicole Vy 08/13/2012 / 5:16 am

    Perfect landscape! Did you know that a great scenery helps us improve our well-being? Staying in places like these are great for meditations and reflections.

    • Frenks Brown 10/06/2012 / 2:32 am

      You are absolutely right about that. Places like these can actually take out stresses in life. I love that pavilion. It’s like inside a beehive.


  2. Sean Grimmett 08/13/2012 / 10:06 am

    Surface deep is one of the best designs I have seen. You are right Nicole. It’s pretty relaxing when you stay at these kind of places.

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