These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably

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By Gabrielle Golenda
Step into these outdoor enclosures that provide picturesque views from all sides.

Ranging from a 1,000-square-foot stand-alone structure built for post-Katrina relief at the New Orleans Botanical Garden, to a 128-square-foot "tree house" designed by a family of architects, these pavilions highlight unique built environments beyond the borders of walls. 

Glue-Laminated Timber Pavilion

Located on  a large swath of land outside Gävle, Sweden, this pavilion by architect Bengt Mattias Carlsson was built adjacent to a residence dating from the late-1800s. Carlsson and builder Kaj Stefanius employed modern wood technology and 1,000-year-old Nordic building traditions to produce a pavilion that rests lightly on the grassy knoll.

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 1 of 7 - In Sweden, architect Bengt Mattias Carlsson created a pavilion adjacent to a residence dating from the late 1800s. The pergola is made from glue-laminated timber beams set atop steel posts; it protects the pool from falling pine needles. George Nelson benches offer places to sit.

In Sweden, architect Bengt Mattias Carlsson created a pavilion adjacent to a residence dating from the late 1800s. The pergola is made from glue-laminated timber beams set atop steel posts; it protects the pool from falling pine needles. George Nelson benches offer places to sit.

Botanical Garden Pavilion

After Hurricane Katrina, Architect Mike McKay moved to Louisiana for two years to design a 1,000-square-foot pavilion in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. It was completed in 2009 as a volunteer structure and tool shed for volunteers maintaining the park. Though today, it's used by the public far more than initially anticipated. 

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 2 of 7 - "The garden was wiped out after the storm," McKay recalls. "There was nothing, zero. Volunteers came in and replanted everything." 

"The garden was wiped out after the storm," McKay recalls. "There was nothing, zero. Volunteers came in and replanted everything." 

A Glass Pavilion With Panoramic Views

With uninterrupted, 360-degree views, this transparent addition hovers above its flat-roofed midcentury original. Designed for two renowned artists, Albert and Frances Paley, Carmel-based architect John Thodos created a peaceful space for conversation and contemplation on the second level of their midcentury home.

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 3 of 7 - In reference to the unembellished geometry of the addition, Dyar explains, "[Thodos] framed the pavilion in a steel structure in a subtle nod to the preferred medium of the client’s sculptural work. He resolved challenges of detailing and scale with an eye to enhancing the floating quality of the space, as experienced both by its occupants and passersby."

In reference to the unembellished geometry of the addition, Dyar explains, "[Thodos] framed the pavilion in a steel structure in a subtle nod to the preferred medium of the client’s sculptural work. He resolved challenges of detailing and scale with an eye to enhancing the floating quality of the space, as experienced both by its occupants and passersby."

Pavilion in the Vermont Forest

In a densely-wooded Vermont forest, architecture students designed and built this pavilion for quiet contemplation. Led by Boston-based firm Moskow Linn Architects, the intensive design-build workshop for aspiring architects gives students a chance to develop hands-on experience by designing and constructing a structure that engages with a rural landscape.

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 4 of 7 - The Birch Pavilion sits atop a 14-by-26-foot platform composed of hemlock and pressure-treated timbers. 

The Birch Pavilion sits atop a 14-by-26-foot platform composed of hemlock and pressure-treated timbers. 

Baltimore Tree House Pavilion

Located on 2.25 acres just north of Baltimore, this 128-square-foot "tree house" was designed by the family that lives in the adjacent house. As architects, drafting plans came easily to Laurie and Peter Stubb, who used bamboo (a rapidly renewable resource) from their property to create the screen around the play structure. 

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 5 of 7 - "The outdoors here are a big playground," she says. "We had always wanted to build something for the girls that looked natural."

"The outdoors here are a big playground," she says. "We had always wanted to build something for the girls that looked natural."

Modern Wine-Tasting Pavilions

Situated along the rolling vineyard-covered hills in Rutherford, California, Walker Warner Architects added three 250-square-foot open-air roofed structures to Quintessa Winery for private wine tastings. They offer protection from the sun, wind, and heat without imposing on the land or coming between the visitor and the vineyard. 

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 6 of 7 - "The clean, modern lines and visual simplicity of the pavilions serve as a backdrop to the tasting experience and as a frame to the landscape beyond, while also sheltering visitors from the elements." 

"The clean, modern lines and visual simplicity of the pavilions serve as a backdrop to the tasting experience and as a frame to the landscape beyond, while also sheltering visitors from the elements." 

A Modern College Park Pavilion

Oslo- and New York-based firm Snøhetta and Dallas-based firm Architexas devised College Park pavilion as part of a program to replace aging, dilapidated pavilions in city parks. Resting in a small clearing, the asymmetrical structure outfitted from anodized aluminum features an unexpected  lime-green interior that stands out among the pecan, oak and mesquite trees. 

These 7 Outdoor Pavilions Allow You to Connect With the Outdoors Comfortably - Photo 7 of 7 - The College Park pavilion has become an inviting gathering point for residents of the surrounding community, well west of the Dallas city center. 

The College Park pavilion has become an inviting gathering point for residents of the surrounding community, well west of the Dallas city center. 

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