In 2003, the City of Dallas' Parks and Recreation Department undertook a park revitalization project to replace decaying and outdated park pavilions throughout the city. Architects were invited to design the new pavilion structures in 32 of the city's public parks. Through this selection process, Snøhetta began a collaboration with the Dallas-based firm, Architexas, to complete a design for College Park, a small park in the far southern suburbs of Dallas. College Park sits in a regional flood plain and is characterized by flat terrain, low shrubs along with larger pecan, and oak trees. The park is an important recreation area for local citizens in south Dallas with both active playing fields and un-programmed, natural landscapes.
While modest in size and function, the Pavilion is still a striking addition to the park and playground. The new structure can accommodate barbeques and summer activities, provide an escape from the harsh Texas sun, and a fun and functional feature for locals to enjoy. The permanent furniture under the structure provides seating for larger social events or a shady break to park visitors. In addition to the Pavilion, the design team re-designed the children's play area, added modern play equipment, upgraded the site landscaping, and created a design to screen the portable toilets near to the parking area.
By inverting the traditional assembly of a clad frame, the pavilion’s structural system becomes the exterior detail.
The plate-steel roof and wall panels are reduced to two dimensional surfaces, minimally visible from the edge profile, but revealing solid planes with a custom perforated pattern as one moves through the site.
A warm grey color allows the exposed structure to be the predomina architectural detail from the exterior. The green of the interior references the vibrant greens of College Park in early spring and the perforations of the wall panels evoke shadow patterns of the surrounding trees and increase visibility into the pavilion at night, adding to site security.