Lowe's Pavilion is both a sculpture and a work of architecture that serves as an outdoor classroom at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Located on the edge of the property at the end of a wooden boardwalk, the 'art as shelter' pavilion sits within an open field and takes in the landscape while also working to blend in with it. The project was designed and built by Raleigh-based Tonic Design, who clad the recycled steel structure in a metallic “skin” that lets light and air pass through.
Lowe’s Pavilion is an outdoor classroom and component of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Sculpture Park. The two-story structure is built from steel beams with wood decks and is wrapped in varying widths of horizontal, perforated metal bands. This metallic skin is multi-purpose and allows both daylight and breezes to enter, but also reflects the changing landscape. The metal takes on the colors of the surrounding field and sky at sunset and sometimes, it completely disappears into the shadows.
Tonic Design chose to build the sculptural pavilion out of steel and aluminum for a number of reasons. First steel allows the building to resist lateral forces through the use of moment connections, thus avoiding cross bracing and keeping the interior space visually open. Aluminum was chosen for the skin as it is easy to work with, lightweight and reflective. Finally, the metal was recycled and in the future could be dismantled and recycled again.
Images ©Jim West