Trail Head Pavilion for the Town of Rhinebeck Park

This timber frame Trailhead Pavilion, an amenity of the Town of Rhinebeck Community Park, contains accessible restrooms, a concession area and a sheltered outdoor space for public gatherings such as musical, cultural and educational activities.

The open, permeable structure, located along an existing hedgerow separating the park’s athletic fields from productive farmland, allows it to act as a threshold or gateway by which the public may access a network of nature trails with impressive views over rolling fields to the Catskill Mountains along the horizon.

Inspired by the trees of the surrounding forest, its Douglas Fir columns branch outward, reducing roof spans and creating an evocative, yet efficient structural expression. Vertical cedar strips in a modified board and batten pattern create a textured surface that wraps around the building’s exterior walls, which are angled inward to allow the roof structure a greater presence. The building’s plan, a fifty foot square, is bisected diagonally at a 45 degree angle. This gesture creates two inverted, inwardly sloping roof planes which receive visitors, “funneling” them through the pavilion, and also allows rainwater from the standing seam roof to cascade into a circular rain garden containing large boulders and native grasses. A curving grass berm concentric to the rain garden helps to guide hikers along the path and into the shelter.

A louvered screen wall suspended from the roof structure helps to define a circulation path and visually shield the restroom entrances from the remaining covered space. The exposed timber frame roof extends into each bathroom, where skylights help create pleasant, well-lit, durable interiors finished in wood, ceramic tile and concrete.

The Pavilion plays an important role in the community park, providing support services for athletic activities while also creating a contemplative place where one might pause to experience the natural resources of this unique Hudson River Valley landscape.