Cotillion Pavilion

Cotillion Pavilion

Dallas, USA, 2012
13. August 2012
Cotillion Pavilion
2011

Dallas, TX

Client
City of Dallas Parks & Recreation Department - Willis Winters, Assistant Director

Architect
Mell Lawrence Architects
Austin, TX

Design Principal
Mell Lawrence, FAIA

Project Architect
Mell Lawrence, FAIA

Project Manager
Elizabeth Baird

Project Team
Mell Lawrence, FAIA & Elizabeth Baird

Structural Engineer
Architectural Engineers Collaborative - G. Charles Naeve, P.E., & Erik Haden, P.E., Assoc. AIA

Landscape Architect
Kimley Horn and Associates

Lighting Designer
Archillume Lighting - Charles Thompson, FAIA

Contractor
Roeschco Construction

Construction Manager
Todd Kueter

Roofing
Tuffak polycarbonate sheet

Site Area
18,000 s.f.

Building Area
1,200 s.f.

Photos
© Mell Lawrence 2012
Part rain shelter, sunshade, and weather vane, the Cotillion Pavilion is also a contemporary means of making a public park a distinctive place. As architect Mell Lawrence describes in his answers to our Q&A about the pavilion, it is just one of many structures that the city of Dallas is installing to replace mass-produced shelters from the 1960s. This commendable program results in distinctive shelters like the Cotillion Pavilion, but it also creates a strong sense of belonging for residents who use the parks.
Looking up from underneath the pavilion at the steel roof/ wall screen and Tuffak polycarbonate roof
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?

The Cotillion Park Pavilion is part of a larger overarching plan to replace the mass-produced 60s-era shade pavilions in Dallas parks with architectural or artistic structures, while still providing the essential needs of shade and rain protection. The Pavilion program is the brainchild of Willis Winters, FAIA, who is second-in-command at the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department. Through this city-sponsored initiative the community near each affected local park gains their own unique pavilion as a special place to gather and celebrate. The new structures also give each location a separate identity from the other parks scattered throughout the city. At the beginning of the program architects were commissioned from the local Dallas area, however the program eventually expanded to encompass architects from all of Texas, and currently includes commissions from both national and international firms. We expressed interest in being part of this exciting program after hearing Willis speak about it, and around two years later we received a call inviting us to formally participate in the program.
 View of the pavilion from the east
Can you describe your design process for the building?

The pavilion program called for the design of a 600-s.f. structure that would first and foremost provide rain and shade protection for the users of the park. It was also to be a gathering space for the surrounding neighborhood community. The structure is expected to survive for at least 40 years with no maintenance and to be as tamper- and vandal-free as possible.

Considering all of the above, our approach was to take cues from the existing shade trees on the site and create a structure that provides similar dappled shade while also feeling airy but grounded at the same time. The structure was located on the site to bridge the gap between two existing groups of mature shade trees. We designed a steel-frame structure with steel-angle screen walls elevated above the ground, and the composition of steel components were designed to abstract and mimic the idea of the hierarchy of the surrounding trees. Long concrete benches not only define the room under the 600-s.f. translucent roof above but stretch out beyond to extend the usable area into and under the natural shade of the surrounding trees (while the screen structure covers an area of 1,200 s.f., the entire area of pavilion and benches exceeds 4,000 s.f.).

Suspended high above one's head at the center of the pavilion hangs a bright red-orange elliptical mobile/weather vane. The mobile gently spins around to acknowledge any changing wind direction and provides a dynamic heart at this well-used suburban neighborhood park. We chose tough durable materials with natural finishes that will patina and become richer over time. We were able to meet the budget with all alternates included despite a 3% budget reduction late in the Construction Document phase.
View underneath the pavilion roof, looking east
How does the completed building compare to the project as designed? Were there any dramatic changes between the two and/or lessons learned during construction?

The completed building is very similar to the designed building as few changes to the design occurred during construction. The material for the roof was substituted during the construction phase at the contractor's recommendation, to install a milky white solid polycarbonate material instead of the originally specified translucent laminated and tempered glass. This was a wise decision given the rambunctious park setting. In addition, we did have to struggle with the management to keep the steel unpainted as originally intended. This original design decision was made in an attempt to provide a maintenance free structure. We oversized all the steel components to anticipate the expected oxidation and to avoid the use of more costly weathering steel. We later experienced push-back during the bidding phase as some of the management wanted the steel to be painted. We argued successfully that painting the steel would not be a 40-year maintenance-free proposition and the soft oxidized color and finish would be a beautiful changing patina, and it is.
Close up of the pivoting mobile detail
How does the building compare to other projects in your office, be it the same or other building types?

The pavilion project differs from most other projects in our office in that it contains no conditioned space; it is entirely outdoor space. This greatly simplified the complexity of issues to consider. The design team was simply Elizabeth and I on the architecture side and Chuck and Rik on the structural engineering side, so there were less team members to coordinate as well.
Elevations and Floor Plan
How does the building relate to contemporary architectural trends, be it sustainability, technology, etc.?

In terms of sustainability this structure is in place for the long haul, requiring little or no maintenance. The major material, steel, is both durable and recyclable. The down-cycled fly-ash concrete is durable and can be further down-cycled if needed in the future.  Crushed granite is a native Texas product. The only paint, the red/orange on the spinning steel mobile, is a highly durable "tnemec" finish. This structure is expected to have a very long life cycle and should incur very little operating/ maintenance energy use or cost.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.
North and East Elevation
Cotillion Pavilion
2011

Dallas, TX

Client
City of Dallas Parks & Recreation Department - Willis Winters, Assistant Director

Architect
Mell Lawrence Architects
Austin, TX

Design Principal
Mell Lawrence, FAIA

Project Architect
Mell Lawrence, FAIA

Project Manager
Elizabeth Baird

Project Team
Mell Lawrence, FAIA & Elizabeth Baird

Structural Engineer
Architectural Engineers Collaborative - G. Charles Naeve, P.E., & Erik Haden, P.E., Assoc. AIA

Landscape Architect
Kimley Horn and Associates

Lighting Designer
Archillume Lighting - Charles Thompson, FAIA

Contractor
Roeschco Construction

Construction Manager
Todd Kueter

Roofing
Tuffak polycarbonate sheet

Site Area
18,000 s.f.

Building Area
1,200 s.f.

Photos
© Mell Lawrence 2012

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