Standing atop a hill overlooking the park entry, focused on the panorama of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains beyond, the Sunset Pavilion marks the intersection of multiple paths along a regional trail system. In concert with 8 additional pavilions throughout the park, the Sunset structure speaks to the simplicity of construction and the honesty of natural materials.
The dramatic steel structure cantilevers from grade, sheltering visitors from the harsh Colorado sun. Acting as a lens, the pavilion’s details are designed to emphasize the phenomenal qualities of the sun’s path throughout the day. A carefully diagrammed set of perforations along the overhead plane tracks the sun’s movement during the autumnal and vernal equinox.
Simultaneous construction, on and off site, allowed the Sunset Pavilion to be completed in just over 4 months. Rough and final grading, as well as landscape and site work on the gabion wall, were commencing in conjunction with off-site steel and concrete fabrication. Upon completion of the pavilion’s foundation and gabion walls, the steel structure was delivered and craned into place in little more than an hours time. Local craftsmen were able to complete their tasks in a controlled environment allowing their work to be expressed in its true beauty. Speed and controlled construction were paramount to the completion of the Pavilion with little site disturbance for this new community amenity.
The fluid shape of the concrete bench beneath the pavilion roof invites visitors to sit, climb, recline and view the landscape. The curves, referencing the topography of the mountains, evolved from an algorithmic abstraction from the core of the pavilion, and the point at which the geographic monuments in the distance are plotted. The sheer weight and materiality of the bench contrasts with the seemingly delicate and temporal structure overhead. Both combine to offer a functional opportunity for rest and shade while making present the natural phenomenon that speak to the power of the Rocky Mountains.