The Pinecote Pavillion: Architectural icon is national treasure

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 2, 2014

TODAY: The Pinecote Pavilion today. The Pavilion is scheduled to have a restoration and repair project initiated later this year. courtesy of Arboretum Archives.

TODAY: The Pinecote Pavilion today. The Pavilion is scheduled to have a restoration and repair project initiated later this year.
Courtesy of Arboretum Archives.

Many people from other states make the pilgrimage to the Crosby Arboretum, located at 370 Ridge Rd., in Picayune, to see the Pinecote Pavilion, which is located at the Crosby Arboretum/MSU Extension.

The Pinecote Pavilion is an award winning architectural structure designed by the late E. Fay Jones, a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Pavilion is one of his most celebrated achievements along with the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Jones described his Pavilion as an “… all-wood structure (that) is built of indigenous material, native pine, and is fastened together with nails, dowels, and metal connections. There is complete exposure of every construction element, all visible from within and without. Every framing member, every beam, brace, and connection is absolutely necessary to achieve structural stability.

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His inspiration came from the surrounding environment and he expressed the effect when he wrote, “As the vertical supports rise from the brick pavement, there is a spreading-out of structural members and a progressively thinning-out of roof decking toward the edges of the hovering roof. There is a transition in the sheltering overhead arrangement, accented by a central skylight, from close and dense to open and fragile. This is analogous to the organic unfolding or blossoming of so many forms of botanical growth. The imbricated pattern of wood shingles also emulate and recall many of natures’ surfaces—the bark of trees and the wings of birds.”

More information on the Pavilion can be found at

The Pavilion received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1991 and pushed Jones to the forefront for the AIA Gold Medal.

The design for Pinecote Pavilion received a 1991 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects as well as an ASLA Medallion Award in 1999.

“We have noted that a lot of architecture students, professors, professionals, classes tour the facility,” Arboretum Director Pat Drackett said. “They don’t want to really discuss it, they want to experience it.”

Drackett said the Pavilion is designed to be on a perfect north-south axis and many people will come on solstice at noon to see the sun directly overhead.

A project to restore and preserve the Pinecote Pavilion should  begin later this year.