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The 1,000-square-foot pavilion was completed in 2009 as a volunteer structure and tool shed--though today its used far more by the public than initially anticipated. "The garden was wiped out after the storm," McKay recalls. "There was nothing, zero. Volunteers came in and replanted everything." Photo by Frank Doering.
The structure was carefully situated around the existing cypress trees, though it was a result of many uprooted during Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, Frank Vallot from Acadia Hardwoods came to the site--after Soniat sent an open invitation to local mills--and collected the trees. In exchange, he donated the cypress used in the pavilion's construction. The roof system was donated by Gallina and the polycarbonate wall by Extech. Photo by Frank Doering.
McKay devised a modular system of arches that would define the open-air structure. Using the donated cypress and aluminum, he created six wall-and-roof modules and slid them closer together or further apart to accomodate the existing trees and roots. "Because there are so many trees on the site, we had to negotiate a system in the initial design phase," McKay says. "When we were constructing the pavilion, if we hit a root, and we did, we could just move the modular without it affecting the overall design or construction." Photo by Frank Doering.
The front of the pavilion (to the right in the elevation) features three modulars positioned next to one another that house the storage space and sink area behind a polycarbonate wall that faces the public side of the site. The pavilion opens up in the back (to the left) for gatherings, seminars, and potting. Photo by Frank Doering.
"You don't even want to be in New Orleans in August with the air-conditioning on," McKay says. "The openness and shade of the pavilion fit well with the surroundings, though, and when a breeze comes through, you're fine."Photo by Frank Doering.
The only enclosed space of the pavilion is the freestanding storage area, where the volunteers keep their tools and potting supplies. McKay would have preferred using smaller aluminum, "but with free materials, you do what you can," he says. Photo by Frank Doering.
The interior also features a counter for potting supplies and a sink for washing off. Photo by Frank Doering.
The facade featuring the polycarbonate wall was meant to be the extent of the public side of the pavilion. It has, however, garnered great interest and is now used frequently by those besides the garden volunteers. "People wanted to have parties and lectures in it," McKay says. "It went from this little potting shed into a really beautiful pavilion that people can use for other things." Photo by Frank Doering.
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