Solar Grove Pavilion
Architecture (College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities)
This project aims to re-imagine precast concrete and create a pavilion that provides atmospheric and environmental benefits similar to that of a forest –one that not only exists to support, but to educate and improve. Kaolin Clay contains a mineral high in aluminum silicates called Kaolite. Sodium Hydroxide from wood ash reacts with the aluminum silicates to cure as polymerized concrete. Compared to concrete from Portland Cement, this geopolymer concrete shrinks less, requires less energy, and produces less CO2 emissions. Titanium dioxide, also extracted from Kaolin Clay, is used as an admixture in the canopy turning the concrete into a bright white photocatalyst, accelerating the natural process of UV decomposition, and stimulating chemical transformations without being consumed. Under sunlight, the concrete becomes a semiconductor; causing rapid decomposition of pollutants into harmless compounds that collect on the surface until rainwater washes them away. Rainwater is directed down the surface of textured columns intended to collect dirt and age intentionally. The contrast of the white canopy and the “aging” columns serves as an educational tool that poetically discerns the condition of our environment. This concrete pavilion -like a forest- responds to the elements; soaking up sun, cleaning the air, and harvesting rain.