Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
AGL LAKESIDE PAVILION in NSW, Australia by Kennedy Associates Architects
September 3rd, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Kennedy Associates Architects
The ‘Raw Australian Shed’ by Kennedy Associates Architects has been shortlisted in the 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards for the AGL Lakeside Pavilion at the Australian Botanic Garden in Sydney. Drawing together two highly symbolic concepts: the semi permanent theatrical marquee and the more permanent vernacular shed, it’s a generous building that inspires and lifts you.
Built almost entirely out of steel for maximum effect and to keep to a modest budget – it’s a building where nothing is hidden, nothing is covered, nothing is painted.
The pavilion sits atop a hill overlooking a lake and forms the centrepiece of the Mt Annan public facilities. It is designed to hold up to 200 people and to strike a balance between being intimate enough for small casual events to catering for big events.
Designed very much in the tradition of a landscape follie, the building is deliberately heroic and it loudly proclaims its presence in the landscape.
Approached from afar it feels like an event to visit this building. It draws you in, makes you welcome, and re-invites further exploration of the garden. The building’s dramatic hilltop location brings order and identity to the surrounding context, delivering sweeping views of the garden and lake.
Entered at its centre and catering for a wide range of uses, from a pit stop to a wedding, or a wake, the pavilion strikes a balance between being intimate enough for small casual visits and large enough for big events.
The program is simple, and is achieved with a minimum of means, maximum of effect and modest budget.
The main space (shed) provides shelter and the main gathering space, a secondary space (verandah) provides entry, the tanks at the rear provide toilets and water storage and help anchor the building to its site.
The rhythm of columns, roof planes, screening and structural geometries creates a flexible series of spaces that tie the building to its site. The slenderness of the roof, which is pitched in three directions, enhances the tent like character of the pavilion, drawing the lowest point to the building’s centre and pushing out to the views.
The structural economies offered by steel, allow for a wall and cross brace free design. Beams are allowed to do what they need to do and joints are clear, exposed and celebrated. Everything is allowed to be visible and to participate in the making of the space.
The 6m high columns are ’enclosed’ by the high level recycled plastic screens and flying roofs. The screens filter the sun, balance the height and frame the views, providing human scale, delicacy and light.
Materials were all chosen for their resource efficiency, recyclability, long life span, minimal maintenance and ability to age well, and are all used without further embellishment or treatment. The interplay of shadows and textures creates a warmth that transcends their apparent harshness.
The interplay of structure, screens and roofs give the building its spatial generosity, three dimensional character and conceptual clarity, define the building’s strength and beauty and give it a powerful presence in the garden, signifying its role as a key destination building within the garden.
It’s a generous and uplifting building that reflects the clients agenda for the creation of a garden that is valued as much for it’s beauty, & contribution to the cultural and public domain, as much as it is valued for its botanical achievements.
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