Avenham Park Pavilion


This was an architectural competition for a new cafe and community space for the park near the centre of town. The land sweeps down a hillside to the River Ribble. We wanted to bring a new understanding of the park’s landscape and history to users of the space. The park itself was created for relief work during the cotton production hiatus during the American Civil War. The local area is particularly wet and this climate helped foster the great linen and weaving industries nearby.

A delicate canopy roof was conceived as being like giant loom. It has an intricate structure that celebrates the rainfall in this wettest part of the UK by capturing water and orchestrating it as it cascades over roofs and gutters on its way back to the river. The sounds and sights of rain tapping, sluicing and gushing are part of the acoustic experience of the building.

The proposal gives a new locus to the existing paths coming together in the park. The different routes arrive under the canopy and make a gathering place between the buildings. A riverside avenue of trees divides the space of the natural  amphitheatre in the park and the space of the river. The building canopy weaves across the avenue to connect the two spaces of the park together. The position of the café and bar hovering over the river, opens up a whole new front for the park. This is a south facing space with a glorious view. It makes the river part of the park.

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