Pillars of Dreams Pavillion  by Marc fornes / THEVERYMANY


An ebullient structure seems to hover in the plaza of the newly renovated Valerie C. Woodard Center in North Carolina. Pillars of Dreams is an icon to be experienced. The cloud-like pavilion is anchored to the ground on nine legs, which are part of the continuous aluminum surface that makes up the double-curving canopy overhead. These open pillars resolve into a field of clustered seating, establishing a public agora for visitors and employees. Along the path from parking to the main entrance, the pavilion accommodates friendly interaction as well as quiet moments for reflection. The airy structure offers relief from the sun but also casts dynamic light through its porous surface. The atmosphere within, full of color and dappled light, inspires curiosity, collegiality, and a renewed spirit of place.

At 26 feet overhead, they appear to float like balloons. But it’s not helium that keeps them afloat, nor any primary or secondary structure. The skin that stretches over the balloon-like aggregate is also self-supporting.

Design process: