New York practice Cooper Joseph Studio was inspired by Mexican beach huts to insert four pyramidal chimneys behind the concrete exterior of this playground pavilion in Dallas, Texas
Sandwiched between a football pitch and a children’s playground, the pavilion offers a sheltered seating area for resting between games as well as picnicking benches for lunchtimes, so Cooper Joseph Studio wanted to keep the space as cool as possible.
The architects concealed the four bright yellow chimneys within the chunky concrete structure and each one works in the same way as the traditional Mexican “palapa” huts, drawing hot air upwards to keep the lower level ventilated.
“The palapa is a time-tested mechanism for creating shade and encouraging passive air flow in a hot climate,” Cooper Joseph Studio’s Greg Evans told. “Many state parks use a similar form for picnic structures. We took the geometry and embedded it within a different volume, gaining the cooling benefits without the prescribed aesthetic.”
Describing the decision to colour them yellow, he explained: “We carefully selected a colour that could resolve itself with both the green landscape and the blue sky visible in the apertures.”
The structure of the pavilion is built entirely from concrete and three rectangular columns support the weight of the rectilinear roof.
“We were able to lighten the concrete with the use of local fly ash,” said Evans. “We used a rough board formwork to soften the aesthetic.”
The two playing fields on either side are at slightly different levels, so the structure is partially sunken into the slope to create three tiered levels of seating on the raised edge.
The Webb Chapel Park Pavilion is one one several new shelters planned in the city’s parks, as replacements for 1960s structures that have decayed over time.