This reinforced concrete pavilion was inspired by nature, but it was delivered by technology—to be more specific, the latest in digital 3D fabrication technologies—which earned the project the coveted 2015 WOW! Award in the ASCC Decorative Concrete Council’s annual competition.

Located near Miami, in the newly incorporated City of Doral, the Doral Park Pavilion resides where the city meets the subtropical wilderness of the Everglades Reserve. Textured to look like natural stone and weathered bark, the pavilion spans 50 feet and stands 25 feet tall.

Developers and city officials wanted a downtown shade pavilion and band shell, but they also desired a notable landmark. So they commissioned renowned artist Michelle Oka Doner, who envisioned a “feral” gateway to the adjacent Everglades. Structural engineering firm Douglas Wood Associates, Coral Gables, Fla., helped bring the artistic vision to life.

3D design

Inspired by two pieces of bark, the pavilion is feral because it is an object pulled from nature. The bark was digitally scanned, scaled up, and manipulated into conceptual designs via 3D modeling software. Scale models were created using 3D printers.

The team cast-in-place the large, intricately shaped object using forms of expanded polystyrene that were sculpted by robotic routers. The routers were guided by the 3D computer model. The engineer used that same model for the conceptual structural design, which was then analyzed using sophisticated finite-element software.

The concrete mix design was critical to the project’s success. Team members used a self-consolidating mix with a 24-inch spread to assure complete filling of the intricate forms. To keep concrete temperatures from soaring in the insulated forms during curing, they used fly ash for 40% of the cementitious material and specified a 56-day design strength. They also incorporated crystalline waterproofing and shrinkage-reducing admixtures for increased durability.

The pavilion is strengthened by hot-dip galvanized, structural steel spines and cross arms to withstand hurricane winds. Within the 3D model, the engineer kinked, bent, and skewed the spines to fit the object.

The shade pavilion was named Micco during a dedication ceremony in January 2014.