Nelson Atkins Pavilion
Inventing the Modern World
Water…it is the most basic of natural resources vital to our survival. Water is the geographical reason Kansas City was developed here – the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. Kansas Citians have long celebrated our relationship to water (abstractly) as the “City of Fountains” and yet we are quite removed from engaging the actual rivers as dynamic, beautiful and integral elements. They are still treated as industries’ back door in their traversal of the city. We are proposing a pavilion that brings the river to the Nelson Atkins Lawn as an immersive and educational experience. The shape of the pavilion was inspired by the form of a water droplet as it hits the grass of the Nelson Atkins lawn – rippling the surface of the ground. Use of the latest CnC technology to create the structure allows for a light, wood lattice work on the interior. This form also references historic, famous pavilions– such as the Bruno Taut glass pavilion, the New York World’s Fair of 1939 and the integrated design approach of Le Corbusier and Xenakis’ Philips Pavilion through light, sound and architecture.
World Fair’s of years past have trumpeted new and cutting edge technologies and products, from the first elevators to the Ferris wheel to material innovations such as glass. While these showcases have touted the greatness of human invention and aesthetics, awareness of the implications to our environment have not typically been a consideration. Given the sea change of understanding regarding the impacts of industry on our natural resources, as well as the disastrous events of the past year with the BP oil spill, our pavilion utilizes a material that actually can clean water by trapping oil so that it may be removed. This chain maile skin of the pavilion will shimmer in the sunlight. The translucent cladding material will allow the pavilion to glow as a beacon in the evening and be an interactive surface on which the water’s reflections will dance and play.
The bottom of the pavilion is surrounded by a pool of water, whose surface visitors can see reflected both in the interior and exterior and provides passive cooling as air moves across the water’s surface, with an opening at the top of the pavilion to draw warm air out. Abstracted digital footage of the Missouri River will be projected on the walls as one moves into the space coordinated with a sound installation triggered by the movement of occupants, creating an impactful and dynamic experience.
All materials of the pavilion are mechanically fastened and will be reused and recycled. All earthwork will be carefully built above the current grade and removed and re-sodded upon disassembly and will incorporate any existing walkways to emphasize a connection to the museum. Electricity will be provided through the use of solar panels or a small on site generator.