The impressively monumental open pavilion in Anacostia River Park, originally planned as a skating rink, was erected by the National Park Service as a shelter, public toilets, snack bar, and storage facility. From the adjacent freeway the pavilion is experienced as a massive floating rectangular slab, alternately solid and void. Its flat reinforced-concrete truss roof, engineered by James Madison Cutts, constitutes more than a third of the structure's height. The roof is lightly carried by two ranges of thin columnar supports and shelters a series of blank-walled, curvilinear forms with an open axis between them. The pavilion is a particularly powerful joint exercise of both architectural formalism and the honest expression of structural engineering. The roof truss patterns—king posts of the ends, a cross in the center, and diagonals facing inward to join them—form a geometry of triangles at once simple and complex. The pavilion's structure is particularly appropriate given its location, as many of Washington's numerous early bridges that spanned both the Potomac and Anacostia rivers were trusses carried by posts.
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Anacostia Park Pavilion
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