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Students from Canadian university pitch in for Camellia pavilion project

Architecture students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who are building a pavilion at an art park along Camellia Boulevard are getting a hand this week from Canadian students.

UL Lafayette students designed and are constructing a dome-shaped, open-air pavilion, called a gridshell, with input from engineers and contractors. The Camellia Boulevard Gridshell Pavilion, which is being built on green space near Mount Vernon Drive, will be the first feature at the art park.

Ten architecture students and a professor from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, who built their own gridshell, are pitching in. The team is lending invaluable experience and insight said Geoff Gjertson, an associate professor of architecture at UL Lafayette who is guiding the University’s pavilion project

“A gridshell is an unusual structure, and they’ve had hands on experience with the process and steps required to build one,” Gjertson said.

The Camellia Gridshell Pavilion will consist of a framework of crisscrossed oak slats topped with white aluminum panels. The “grid” of wood will be affixed to low concrete walls that rim a concrete floor.

At 40 feet long by 30 feet wide and 14 feet high, the pavilion will provide a shady spot for walkers, runners, and other visitors to the art park.

The pavilion is partially funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as part of the Thinking While Doing initiative.

The objective is to develop and test new and innovative construction technologies. Students, professors and community officials collaborate on projects in their communities.

UL Lafayette students began constructing the pavilion last month. The work is being coordinated with Lafayette Consolidated Government and the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

Grant money will cover about half of its $77,000 cost. UL Lafayette students started a fundraising campaign to raise money needed to complete the project.

To learn more about the project or how to make a donation, visit the IndieGoGo site or contact Gjertson at, or 337-278-2722.