Architecture students at the University of Kansas collaborated with various sponsors to design and build the Emergence Pavilion and a limestone entryway for John Taylor Park in North Lawrence.

Last semester, Architecture 509, taught by assistant professor of architecture Keith Van de Riet, was tasked with creating a structure that would help define and enhance the entrance and public area of the park. The Emergence Pavilion is a shade structure made of wood, steel and limestone and is meant to act as an anchor that pulls the entrant through the park, Van de Riet said. The limestone entryway is a tower that consists of a stack of multiple slabs of limestone.

“When people enter a park, having certain visual cues helps them move through it and wayfind,” Van de Riet said. “The entrance we created is meant to draw people towards the public area.”

Three students work to construct a large limestone structure in a studio

Architecture students work to construct the limestone entryway for John Taylor Park in North Lawrence. 

The pavilion is also meant to compliment the other structures and landmarks in the park, Van de Riet said. Those include a sensory garden with sculptures by artist Nick Miller, and a dirt mountain for children to play on. 

Van de Riet said the students got the idea for the pavilion while researching the garden and how pollination works. They were inspired by the metamorphosis of a butterfly and how its transformation is similar to the act of pollination. The structure itself is supposed to look like the two wings of a butterfly taking flight.

“This transformation of life really captivated the students,” Van de Riet said.

Limestone structures frame the entrance to a park with a large wooden pavilion in the background

A limestone entryway stands at the front of John Taylor Park with the "Emergence Pavilion" in the background. University architecture students designed and built both structures. 

The pavilion and limestone entryway was created almost entirely from recycled and donated materials, he said. The steel and wood both came from Evergy’s Green Team, a power company. The steel is from old transmission towers, while the wood came from old power poles. The limestone was donated from the Kansas Union at the University.

“It’s good material that would otherwise end up in a landfill,” Van de Riet said. “It’s also free for us.”

The rest of the materials came from the “Kaw Pavilion,” a project Van de Riet and a previous classes worked on," which was funded by a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation and donations from sponsors.

Van de Riet said the goal of the project was to give students experience on what it takes to bring a real-world project to fruition. Over the course of the semester, they worked with shaping stone, masonry, mortar and more.

Students each had their own roles that reflected their expertise. John Hardie, a third-year architecture student, whose job was to create the plans and construction documents, said he learned a lot about this skill during the construction of the pavilion.

“I hadn’t done a lot of detailed construction documents before this,” Hardie said. “That was really helpful because that is what I am doing for my career.”

Van de Riet and his class still have plans to continue adding to the pavilion. In the spring, Van de Riet said they plan to add bench seating made of donated stone to the structure.