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Pavilion in the Trees

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Located near the Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park, the Pavilion in the Trees is a public artwork imagined in 1981 and developed as part of the Fairmount Park Art Association’s (now the Association for Public Art) Form and Function program - in which many artists from far and near were invited to the area to propose their ideas. Martin Puryear originally wanted to build something around the trunk of a tree. After further contemplation, he realized that a latticed wood pavilion as high as the surrounding trees would provide the serene and uplifting experience he sought. The original model of this secluded treehouse included a steep set of stairs, but for aesthetics and safety, the artist decided to substitute a sloping ramp. The pavilion consists of an open structure supported by a series of posts. The selection of the materials of red cedar, white heart oak, and heart redwood was for their natural durability. A 60-foot walkway leads across a natural basin to an observation platform, rising 24 feet above the ground. Situated high among the treetops, the work has become a much-favored place to relax and contemplate nature from a bird’s-eye view. Directions: Exit Rt. 76 at Montgomery Drive and continue west toward Belmont Avenue. Turn left at the entrance to the Horticulture Center/Japanese House and Garden. Pavilion in the Trees is in the Lansdowne Glen behind the Horticulture Center. (Submitted by Michael Jacobs)