Jeff Johnson / Chris Nogoy with the US Park Service
To commemorate the Mt. Whitney Trail’s 100th Anniversary, these pavilions were designed as a trailhead marker and information center. The designers won a competition held by the US Parks Service while in the Master of Architecture program at UC Berkeley. They recruited their classmates (myself included) to be the construction crew in the summer after our graduation.
The site is remote and not accessible for heavy machinery. Every stone of the gravity walls is placed by hand, all concrete mixed by hand. Lumber sourced from felled urban trees in the Oakland area comprises the primary material of the pavilions, and it took the whole crew to move and raise the heavy posts. This was an exercise in teamwork and construction process: a very valuable hands-on lesson for a recent architecture graduate.
The elegant pavilions touch the trail lightly, with heavy timber posts sitting in steel post bases elevated above the foundation. The stone wall leading to the pavilion snakes its way to the trailhead and acts as a bench for hikers needing a rest. Wood screens provide shade and a place for signage with trail information. Steel tension cables comprise the secondary structural system, and these are the only parts of the structure visible for most of the winter when everything else is buried under snow.
Design Details: Heavy Timber, Reclaimed Lumber, Stone Wall, Local Materials, Stainless Steel Cables