Arnold ArboretumOutdoor Classroom and Vine Trellises

Boston, Massachusetts

The 265-acre Arnold Arboretum is a National Historic Landmark and contains one of the most comprehensive and best-documented collections of trees in the world. Founded in 1872, It was planned and designed in collaboration with Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. The plan for the new site for sun loving shrubs and vines, as designed by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, is organic in form and spatially rich, evoking both the botanical traditions of French parterre gardens and the intricate patterns found in nature, such as the branching of trees, or the veined configurations of insect wings.

The pavilion structure, designed by MTA, serves as an outdoor classroom and a place of repose, and is a focal point within the overall composition of the gardens. As one approaches the pavilion along the great wall, vine trellises occlude views to the planted terraces and gradually reveal the pavilion. Brushed stainless steel beams and columns support a roof of lead-coated copper over natural tongue and groove cedar. The juxtaposition of the wood elements with the stainless steel allows for a reading that is both modern and richly textured. Two sections of wood and metal roof float overhead with a slot of space between allowing shafts of southern sun and views of the sky to penetrate to the terrace below. The exquisitely crafted stone walls which form a base for the structure connect it to the terraces and the hills and trees in the background.