Tulane City Center and a team of Tulane architecture students worked together with the Lousiana Outdoor Outreach Program to design a shade structure made from traffic yield signs for a challenge course in City Park. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding tree canopy and the structure of the ropes course, the design team crafted a faceted, curving aluminum canopy suspended by steel cables with an earthen berm for seating below. More about the pavilion, after the break.
From the architects: The Louisiana Outdoor Outreach program (LOOP) engages local underserved youth in outdoor education and leadership programs through adventure-based activities on their challenge course site in City Park. The program partners with inner city schools and community agencies that serve students who are considered at-risk or Title I equivalent. Through Tulane City Center’s open Request for Proposals, LOOP identified a need for space for program expansion. Their current site is difficult to access and far from any seating, storage or shaded gathering spaces. A new pavilion would allow LOOP to provide better, safer programs for the students with whom they work.
After engaging LOOP staff to assess their needs, students designed a pavilion that incorporates storage and seating into a large shade structure used for teaching and gathering before and after challenge course activities. The design is inspired by the tree canopy surrounding the challenge course, and uses blank aluminum traffic signs as a modular, exterior grade unit to create an abstracted, high-performing canopy overhead.
In keeping with the context of the adjacent ropes course structure, the canopy was suspended with steel cable from a larger steel structure in a way that creates an undulating complex curve. The seating is built into an earth berm created by reusing railroad ties from the historic St. Charles Ave. streetcar line.