I cannot help but share a bit about a building and an institution I truly cherish. The Washington Pavilion represents one of my first experiences with the power of architecture, mashing up my love for the arts with my love for the sciences – in a similar way that architecture combines those elements as well.
I attended last evening’s great performance of Finding Neverland and – full disclosure – I also sing with the SDSO Chorus and am a board member of the Visual Arts Center, so take my gushing about the Pavilion as you will, but my experiences with the Pavilion go much further back than my current experiences and roles with the facility.
When I was in high-school, the Pavilion was freshly renovated, and it was the first venue I was able to experience some high-caliber theatre and musical performances. I was fascinated with how an old high-school was able to be transformed into such a stunning space. In undergrad, I “payed-my-way” through college (or a small percent of it at least) by working at the box office, constantly hearing stories from visitors who attended the former Washington High School at that location, often about how the principal’s office used to be “right there” (pointing east, just north of the main entry staircase).
As an architecture student, I studied the building as an example of adaptive reuse. As an architect with real-world experience, the Pavilion remains in my heart a paragon of how we can treasure, preserve, and reuse our existing building stock, especially in our downtowns.
As a parent, I appreciate having a singular facility that allows me to expose my children to art and science simultaneously, especially with recent initiatives that Pavilion has been taking to combine and coordinate programming between the Science Center, Visual Arts Center, and the Community Learning Center. I hope this becomes an important landmark to them, as they grow older and attend concerts and shows as well as visiting the museums.
The article below from SiouxFalls.Business is a good recap of where this community treasure has been, and where they plan on going. I can’t wait to see what is in store.
Congratulations to the Washington Pavilion, and also to the Sioux Falls community on making a strong choice 25 years ago to do something right regarding the architecture of the city.
What are some of your favorite examples of adaptive reuse in our South Dakota community? Leave a comment or two below.
Chase Kramer, AIA, is an architect with TSP Inc. in Sioux Falls. He received his M.Arch from ISU where he focused on urban design and sustainability. Before that, he received a degree in Art from Augustana University. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and two daughters. Beyond Architecture, he is a musician, art lover, and fan of cheese and beer.