LAWRENCE – Keith Van de Riet’s ARCH 509 design-build studio finished the Kaw Pavilion on a zero budget – and are walking away with two architecture awards.
The studio won the merit award for “Small Architectural Project” from the AIA Kansas Design Awards and the student project award in the “Green Architecture” category for the Architecture MasterPrize.
Eleven students made up the University of Kansas class that designed and built the project in four months. It serves as a rest stop, classroom and meeting space on the Burroughs Creek Trail in East Lawrence and was created from all recycled or donated materials. It is inspired by indigenous cultures and the natural prairie life cycle.
Located in Burroughs Creek Park, the pavilion serves as both a gathering place and signifying feature of Prairie Block, a community-led initiative to enhance park amenities and restore native prairie landscapes in Lawrence. Future Prairie Block projects include enhancements to the existing community orchard and wetland restoration along Burroughs Creek.
Suzan Hampton, a local community activist, designer and founding member of Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT), collaborated with Van de Riet’s studio and was the primary reason for the Prairie Block project getting off the ground.
“Thanks to Suzan, the park was significantly enhanced with no cost to the community,” said Van de Riet, assistant professor of architecture.
The pavilion’s structure features hundreds of repurposed street signs that work as shingles and recycled sail shade connected to donated power poles. The red, blue, yellow and green of the street signs create a mural that represents the burn cycle of prairies and its regenerative impact on the environment.
At the interior, a stretched taut shade is evocative of indigenous peoples’ use of animal skins in shelter construction and provides filtered light inside the pavilion.
The site also features 1-ton limestone boulder trail markers, which the students hand-carved under the tutelage of local mason and artist Karl Ramberg. The trail markers were designed to depict the cartography of the Kaw River watershed – of which Burroughs Creek is a tributary – and native flora and fauna. The carvings include cottonwood trees, rattlesnake master plant, crayfish, dragon fly and northern water snake, among others.
Some of the class’s community partners and sponsors included Westar Energy Green Team, McClure Engineering Company, Struct/Restruct Design Build, Cottin’s Hardware and Rental, Ramberg Stoneworks, Kansas City Tent and Awning, R.D. Johnson Excavation, Douglas County Public Works, Hicks Classic Concrete, 12th and Haskell Recycling Center, Delaware Street Commons, Kansas Trails Council, Brookside Landscaping and Lawrence Parks & Recreation.
The site was finished and celebrated June 1 (National Trails Day) with a ribbon-cutting and tabling local nonprofits.
The Kaw Pavilion is always open to the public but can be reserved through the Lawrence Parks & Recreation website.
The AIA Kansas Design Award was presented Sept. 12 at the AIA Kansas Conference in Wichita. Architecture Master Prize winners were honored Oct. 14 at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Students involved in the Kaw Pavilion project were Aaron Lamer, Salina; Gregory Deveau, Tonganoxie; Dylan Dennis, Edmond, Oklahoma; Robert Edberg-Oostdik, St. Paul, Minnesota; Ernesto Lopez, Hays; Tyler Duggan, Aurora, Colorado; Dylan Baile, Ballwin, Missouri; Ido Kenigsztein, Denver; Hira Naeem, Overland Park; Wei Liang, Jiangsu Xu Zhou, China; and Sana Munir, Overland Park.