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Lafayette Strong Pavilion

Building Institute

Shared By

Sara Johnson, Hanley Wood Media

Project Name

Lafayette Strong Pavilion

Project Status


Year Completed



Lafayette Consolidated Government


  • Randall J. Hebert & Associates
  • Blackwell



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Project Description


The Lafayette Strong Pavilion utilizes a gridshell structural system employing thin wood members in catenary double curves in compression. It is a very efficient, lightweight system, which can span large distances.

UL Lafayette began planning and development of the gridshell pavilion in the summer of 2014. Through discussions with Gerd Wuestemenn of the ACA and Joey Durel City/Parish President, it was decided that this innovative and sculptural structural system would lend itself to a park pavilion in the future Camellia Blvd. Art Park. Joey Durel selected the site on the median between River’s Bend Subdivision, ST. Barnabas Church, and Camellia Blvd.

Students collaborated with JB Mouton, Begneaud Manufacturing, Metalhead and others to design, fabricate and build the gridshell. The groundbreaking ceremony occurred the day after the tragic theater shootings in Lafayette the summer of 2015. Soon after, the students and faculty decided to dedicate the gridshell, the “Lafayette Strong Pavilion” to commemorate the response of unity and strength of the community following the shootings.

The gridshell is a beautiful sculptural form, which blurs the boundary between art and architecture. It has been challenging since very few of these types of structures exist (in fact the Lafayette Strong Pavilion is the only one we know of in the US.) It is our hope that through experiencing the gridshell, whether driving by or occupying its shady space, citizens will be challenged and will question "what is architecture?"
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