NATIONAL BUTTERFLY CENTER – WELCOME PAVILION

The organization’s primary objective is to promote the enjoyment of butterfly watching and respect for nature through educational exhibits and gardens. Within the confines of a very economical budget, this modest building is designed to have strong iconic qualities on what was featureless, abandoned farmland. A 10-year Master Plan takes the 100-acre park and divides it into “pixels,” or plots of land – each 22 by 22 feet. Using a careful patterning of enclosure, wall and open space, buildings will emerge with surrounding gardens and support areas. The pavilion is the first structure on the grounds and as such is multi-purpose.

Sheathed in vertically stacked local, Mexican white brick the building has iconic presence in the landscape. A timber-frame roof, concrete floors and a galvanized metal cornice are precisely proportioned to work together. The open ceiling with exposed ductwork and coordinated lighting as well as all interior surfaces are painted “limelight”, a color that simultaneously reflects and complements the harsh, dry landscape. A sinuous configuration of white, modular, display tables weaves through the orthogonal geometry. Private areas are separated from public spaces using translucent, polycarbonate panels, while sunlight is filtered through frit patterns on the glass.

Collaborating closely with our contractor we were able to build with un-skilled, local labor to achieve a bold design with ambitious detail, texture and sculptural qualities.

A galvanized aluminum cornice glistens against the pale blue sky. The walls are built with an oversized Mexican white block, laid vertically over traditional wood frame and plywood cladding.

The interior, saturated in “limelight”, is seen as a counterpoint. All interior surfaces including the epoxy floor, the timber ceiling and the walls are the same color. A sinuous configuration of display tables for exhibition and retail weaves through the orthogonal geometry.