The Art

The Pavilion

Constructing the Pavilion

Any good project begins with a trip to the jungle. Fortunately for us The Lawrence Gallery in Sherwood, OR had one nearby where they allowed a crew of member sculptors to harvest bamboo for the construction of a large canopy.

Much research into bamboo bending techniques had yielded little or no information. It seems that most, if not all bamboo construction is done with straight pieces. Since our canopy was to be built with large curved pieces we were on our own. The first attempt was made with a long briquet fired oven to heat the bamboo whereupon it would be bent much in the way a woodworker will bend wood with heat and steam. Wood however does not contain large airtight chambers that explode when heated.

Though some bending was accomplished by heating and dousing with cool water it was clear this was not the way to proceed. Eventually the bamboo poles were affixed to jigs on a building roof and allowed to dry in the sun for several months. This technique did work and enough pieces were bent to construct the frame.

The key to the whole canopy is the center ring. To it are bolted steel holders for the bamboo legs and bracing. Into holes about it's circumference are placed the bamboo poles that support the 21' cargo parachute that serves as the top.

Final construction began at Maryhill the day before the Maryhill Art and Wine Festival opened. A trial assembly had been accomplished earlier in the week though many unknowns remained. How, for example, would a 21 foot, cargo parachute covered, bamboo display pavilion behave in the intense winds of the Columbia Gorge?

Any number of fatal events should have prevented completion. Bamboo supports broke and were repaired. The last of the thick bamboo legs broke and was replaced with a bundle of smaller diameter pieces. There it was though, with nary a ripple of the top in the strongest gust.

Pacific Northwest Sculptors  4110 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. #302,  Portland, Or.  97214