The University Record, December 17, 1996

Botanical Gardens will 'grow' pavilion for new Gateway Garden

While functioning as a pavilion, this artistic interpretation of Paul Little's design also illustrates its use as an arbor walkway in the Gateway Garden at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Service


Growing a pavilion starts with an idea that soon becomes a challenge. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens has the idea and is ready to meet the challenge of constructing a pavilion in its new Gateway Garden. About $125,000 is needed for the completion of the garden and pavilion by fall 1997.

During the past growing season the Gateway Garden was filled with color and activity, but there was a noticeable empty space. Paul Little, the Garden's resident designer, has completed a design which will fill this space and at the same time relate well to the adjacent Alden Dow building.

"The Botanical Gardens complex is architecturally a study in geometric forms," Little says. "Its salient qualities are strong horizontal bands and compositions of squares, triangles and rectangular supports. It presents a clear facade, hugging the landscape."

Because the design of the Dow building doesn't lend itself to typical gardenesque structures, and because of the site's strong horizontal lines and view of the adjoining woods, Little knew a vertical structure was not the ideal and opted for a style more reminiscent of a pergola or arbor walkway.

The structure is simple in appearance, having eight stone pillars of Fond du Lac cut stone supporting a pergola structure of milled cedar. The front of the pavilion will be curved to conform to the circular plan of the garden. It will offer both deep shade, protection from the weather , and areas of filtered sun.

"When Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin in Wisconsin," Little says, "he said it would be a structure 'of the hill, not on the hill.' I would like to think the new Gateway Garden pavilion will be a structure of the garden and not just in the garden."