Morton Arboretum Visitor Experience Pavilions


Morton Arboretum Visitor Experience Pavilions


Lisle, Illinois

Eight visitor stations will activate the Arboretum (an outdoor 1700-acre museum of over 3300 plants from around the world) by focussing visitor activities at points of interconnection between its twelve miles of trails and eleven miles of roads.  The first, at Big Rock, is a prototype shelter versatile enough to be replicated in the Arboretum's diverse natural environments (woodlands, prairies, wetlands, lakes).  Each will have parking, portable restrooms and interpretive signage introducing each site's origins, ecological significance and human history.  The visitor station's sleekly detailed cedar disk floats between four steel shafts clad (tree-trunk-like) with irregularly shaped (almost primitive) split logs (grained like highly veined marble).  The circular shape is literally a "dot on the visitor map", its columns aligned and inscribed with the compass points to help visitors find their way—or a tempietto-like garden folly in a classical landscape park.  Its simplicity gives it a monumentality appropriate to the outdoor museum setting even as it quietly disappears into the trees.



AIA Illinois 150 Great Places in Illinois, 2007

Daily Herald, 11.08.2005



Morton Arboretum


Completed 2003

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Project Data

Area/Budget: NA / $700,000

Scope: master planning & renovation of 25,000sf historic regional museum in Lakewood Forest Preserve

Project Team: David Woodhouse, Joel Agacki (project architect)

Matrix Engineering (structural); Morton Arboretum (landscape & graphics); Brown Associates (cost)

Photographer: Barbara Karant