Martin Puryear's Pavilion in the Trees sculpture damage

Exciting News!

We’re restoring ‘Pavilion in the Trees’ in West Fairmount Park

by Melissa Romero on July 19, 2018

One of the most beloved hidden gems of Fairmount Park, Martin Puryear’s Pavilion in the Trees, is currently being restored by Fairmount Park Conservancy’s conservators after a tree fell on it during a storm late last year.

Pavilion in the Trees has offered park-goers a quiet place to reflect and relax ever since it was installed on the grounds of Fairmount Park Horticulture Center in 1993. Commissioned by the Association for Public Art, the art sculpture was created by artist Martin Puryear, who was inspired by his childhood longing for a treehouse of his own.

Lead photo: A portion of the walkway to Pavilion in the Trees was demolished by a fallen tree. Photo by Lindsey Walker. Above: The Conservancy’s conservators began repairs on the walkway in July. Photo by Ray Tschoepe.

Since its installation, the Association for Public Art has worked with Fairmount Park Conservancy to maintain and restore the wooden sculpture each year, which consists of a 60-foot-long walkway and a semi-covered observation platform that overlooks the Horticulture Center’s grounds. 

But this year, the Conservancy’s conservators have taken on a bigger task, after a tree fell on the Pavilion in the Trees during a storm in late 2017. The walkway was severely damaged, making the Pavilion inaccessible ever since. 

The restoration project involves a long list of repairs, including removing and disposing of the damaged wood; inspection of the structure for further damage; salvaging of any reusable hardware; installation of new deck boards and cedar handrail supports; and more. The Conservancy, which performs annual maintenance and conservation treatment for Pavilion in the Trees, will also spray the new materials with borate wood preservatives to protect the sculpture from fungal deterioration.

The Conservancy officially began work on the Pavilion this month, so stay tuned for a completion date when Pavilion in the Trees will enjoyed by all once again.

Photo by Ray Tschoepe

To learn more about the Conservancy’s architectural preservation services, please click here or contact Lucy Strackhouse, Senior Director of Preservation and Property Management at 215.607.3494 or