Visitors Pavilion by Marion Blackwell Architects

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion by Marion Blackwell

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion by Marion Blackwell

I’m not exactly sure what happens in this pavilion, but I’m hoping it includes arts and crafts. The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion was architected by Marion Blackwell and sits inside 100-acres of art and nature controlled by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  (You might remember this installation from their lobby last fall.) The architect’s website describes the project as a place to “gain a deeper, and perhaps, even more meaningful understanding of the relationships between conditions nature-made and man-made” and all I can think when I see these photos of is the arts and crafts hut from my childhood summer camp.

To be clear, this project is entirely too pretty, too sturdy, and too nice to have anything to do with the derelict “arts and craps” hut I remember from camp. Whereas this roof is dramatic and porous as it swoops across the glass-enclosed program and opens toward the woods, the roof I remember from camp was dramatic for a different reason but also porous as it sagged across the rotting wooden frame and provided shelter for wasps who built nests there. We made things out of yarn and popsicle sticks, never really contemplating the nature that was blushing green all around us. It’s hard for me to belief that visitors to this new pavilion will not be distracted from the surroundings by the pavilion itself, not because the architecture is distracting but because it looks spectacular. But maybe this is just me. When I was ten, I couldn’t look away from the details my craft and now I can’t imagine looking away from the details of Mr. Backwell’s craft.

Unless, of course, I am interrupted by a wasp.


June 21, 2011