The Margaret Whitlam Pavilion stands as a striking complement to the 100 swiftly growing forests at the National Arboretum Canberra. Like the nearby Visitor Center, the Pavilion provides support facilities and a stunning platform from which to enjoy the surrounding landscape. The prefab event space was designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, who also designed the Visitor Center. Both buildings support the Arboretum's mission of sustainability and land protection.
After bush fires decimated areas around Canberra in 2001, the city decided to rebuild by creating the National Arboretum Canberra. Plans for the Arboretum actually date back over 100 years ago, when Canberra’s planners Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin created the original vision. Then in 2005, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer won an international design competition to masterplan the arboretum and the support buildings, while Taylor Cullity Lethlean handled the landscape architecture. The arboretum shows off 100 forests and 100 gardens, and it opened to the public in February of 2013.
We wrote about the Visitor Center last year, and now we’re delighted to showcase the adjacent pavilion and event center. Also designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion is a striking form set within the sweeping, terraced landscape. Described as a ‘pause’ in the landscape, the Pavilion punctuates the rolling hills with its pointed and curved roof while providing beautiful views of the surrounding scenery. The Pavilion was prefabricated from steel beams, insulating composite panels, and zinc cladding that matches the ribbed roof of the Village Centre.
The space was designed for events, concerts, weddings, and dinners, and it can host 120 people. The outside terraces take in views of the arboretum and also look back towards the city. The project’s prefab construction made it quick to assemble, and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer designed the pavilion to meet the sustainability ideals of the arboretum. It includes the use of low-energy fixtures and systems, water recycling, natural ventilation and an energy-efficient envelope.
Wood is featured prominently in the interior as a way to highlight the importance of trees and their role in carbon sequestration.
Images ©John Gollings and National Arboretum Canberra