Congratulations to Mell Lawrence Architects, whose project, The Cotillion Pavilion, was recently selected for a 2012 Texas Society of Architects Design Award. Thirteen projects were selected from a total of 227 entries.
Commissioned by the Dallas Parks Department to replace a 1960-era pavilion, this new shade structure bridges the gap between two groups of trees at a natural gathering place in the park. The composition of steel components mimic the idea of the hierarchy of the surrounding trees to produce similar dappled shade. The sun’s movement across the sky animates the structure, catching direct light, casting shadows and patterns, and creating dynamic figure ground shapes against the sky for the picnickers below. Long concrete benches not only define the outdoor room under the translucent roof but stretch out beyond to extend the usable area into and under the natural shade of the surrounding trees.
The program called for a 650-square-foot pavilion that would be immune to vandals and endure at least 40 years of use while requiring no maintenance. With attention to sustainability, Mell Lawrence Architects chose tough durable materials with natural finishes. Power consumption is minimal and feeds a few LED lights to create a gentle glow under the roof in the evening. Suspended high above and at the center of the pavilion hangs a bright red elliptical mobile vane. The mobile gently spins around to acknowledge any changing wind direction and provides a dynamic heart at this suburban neighborhood park.
“We used Vectorworks software to communicate all 2D drawing information and ultimately used it to create the entire construction documents package,” explains project manager Elizabeth Baird. “Our office has used the program for a long time and we have established a system of layers, classes and line weights that work well for us when we want to communicate information graphically. We also worked very closely with Kimley-Horn and Associates, the landscape architects for this project, and had no problem transferring drawing information back and forth even though they were using a different CAD program.”