“One of the things we talked a lot about was the use of light and how light could convey this sense of spirituality,” recalls Holzman. Thanks to that desire to play with both interior and exterior light, steel took on an important role in the buildings’ form and function.
In order to make the interior of the main pavilion more enveloping, centralized, and flexible, Holzman envisioned a structure that on the inside was “a singular space with less differentiation between ceilings and walls.” That effect doesn’t focus in only one direction and allows the room to be used in different ways. The architect turned to materials that could be used both as roofing and siding. “The selection of metal was a natural choice,” Holzman says.
The steel surfaces also serve the building’s outward design, which in turn shape the area’s outdoor space. “Cameron Pond is obviously reflective, and many of the buildings that surround the main quadrangle are glass and dark in color,” Holzman notes. “I thought something with a bright and crisp line would work well in that setting and make a beautiful reflection in the water as you walk around the pond.”
Because the Salameno buildings are not large, Holzman wanted their appearance to stand out. “We wanted to get that crispness in the planes so that when the light hits them they’re helping define the structure. That’s why a bright metal was a very good solution.”
The Padovano Peace Pavilion rises 25 feet and its 800-square-foot interior can accommodate groups as large as 80 people, while the two meditation pods have small benches that can seat three. The design of the pavilion did present challenges. “It has a lot of angles and joints and the windows are immense,” says Holzman. “So making it watertight was a concern because everything was at an angle and had to be carefully made.”
The spiritual center has been in use for a year and a half, and Holzman finds value in the concept. “In this day and age it’s very important, especially on a college campus, for people to have to a place like this to go,. I wonder if other academic institutions would consider making something like this in the future.”
Locke Peterseim writes about architecture from Chicago.