Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion was designed to raise awareness of the nearby Boston Harbor Islands—a natural resource that is only a twenty-minute boat ride from Downtown Boston. Two sculptural roof canopies define the pavilion and provide spatial definition and protection for two kiosks, a large-scale map of the islands incised into the pavement, and a permanent exhibit that highlights the rich historical and ecological diversity of the archipelago. The open-air pavilion is staffed by National Park Service rangers and personnel from the Boston Harbor Island Alliance, the Park Service’s non-profit partner.

The pavilion was located and shaped by carefully studying the structure from a variety of vantage points using a digital model that included the surrounding urban context. The pavilion roofs guide rainwater from the structures into a catch basin, which then guides stormwater into an irrigation system for the adjacent lawn.

The pavilion was a finalist for Boston Society of Architects 2014 Harleston Parker Medal, and honored with a 2015 International Architecture Awards honorable mention in the Cultural category, a 2011 Honor Award for Design Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects, the 2011 Grand Honor Award from the Associated General Contractors of New England, and a Silver Award from the 2012 ACEC/MA Engineering Excellence Awards.

All photos by Chuck Choi, except as indicated.

Utile also designed the exhibition panels at the pavilion, which feature the photography of Thad Russell.

During the day the primary feature of the kiosks are two 8′-0″ by 12′-0″ map panel. At night the two kiosks are closed  by sliding the large map panels across the open doorways of the kiosks, revealing LED panels  that are programmed with video art installations. The first installation, Nature Special, has been curated by the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA. (Suara Welitoff, Kiss, 2010, single-channel video, Courtesy of the Artist and Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA.)

Above photos by Chuck Choi.

Below photos by Thad Russell. Thad, a photographer based out of Providence, Rhode Island, documented the construction process.