O’DonnellBrown uses recycled materials for the outdoor learning pavilion in the Scottish Park

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Skylights made from a patchwork of recycled screens for phones, tablets and laptops create a rainbow-like lighting effect inside this pavilion in Strathclyde Country Park in Scotland, designed by O’DonnellBrown Architects with artist Kate V Robertson.


Overlooking Strathclyde Loch, the 80 square meter Rainbow Pavilion was commissioned by the North Lanarkshire Council as the first project of a new art strategy for the park encouraging collaborations between artists, architects and the community.

The Rainbow Pavilion is located in Strathclyde Country Park in Scotland and was designed by O’DonnellBrown and Kate V Robertson

Glasgow-based O’DonnellBrown worked with local artist Kate V Robertson and children from nearby New Monkland Primary School to design the pavilion, which will host educational activities as well as rentals and private events.

Unveiled on Outdoor Classroom Day on November 4, the pavilion is part of an ongoing project by the firm to promote outdoor learning spaces that began with the design of a prototype, the community classroom, during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown.

Image of the white painted exterior of the rainbow pavilion
The pavilion will serve as an outdoor classroom

“To advance our ideas on what a healthy and inspiring learning space can be, the shelter will be an adaptable resource to help schools provide progressive outdoor learning experiences,” said the practice director. Jennifer O’Donnell.

Using the same structural principles as the community classroom, the shelter was created using sections of whitewashed lumber in repeating column modules that support a raised wooden deck and wooden roof.

On each side of the pavilion, a pattern of wooden slats covers rain screens made of layers of metal mesh, designed by artist Kate V Robertson to create a pattern of light that mimics the reflection of light from the Strathclyde Loch nearby.

Seeking to minimize waste and promote the principles of a circular economy, films made from recycled screens from phones, tablets, computers and other devices have been incorporated into these rain screens, and also form the skylights of the pavilion.

View of the rainbow pavilion from inside
Skylights made from recycled elements were installed in the ceiling

In addition to creating an envelope to protect the interior from the elements, these film surfaces create a rainbow-like prism-like effect as light passes through them, bouncing around the interior.

“The process of integrating the artwork and the architecture went smoothly,” said artist Kate V Robertson, “as a result, the shelter has a unity of form, structure and materials – and their effects. “

The screens are from a local campaign started by the artist to collect broken or unwanted devices, with the remaining materials being recycled through Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in Scotland.

A child pictured drawing in the rainbow pavilion
The project was commissioned by the North Lanarkshire Council

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated an already growing interest in providing outdoor learning spaces, as a white paper from interior design firm Roar recently explored.

In addition to O’DonnellBrown’s community classroom project, other concepts include the modular and pop-up classroom design of the American practice SOM and the tent-shaped classrooms of the British studio Curl la Tourelle Head. that allow social distancing.


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