Monday, December 20, 2010

The Picnic Shelter at the Mayo River State Park. Mayodan, North Carolina

No more birds at least for a couple more days. TB wasn’t available to travel this Saturday and with the weather forecast calling for snow, I decided to stay home. The snow never showed up and Sunday was bright and sunny although very cold and breezy. I decided to take a short drive up to Mayodan to the newest North Carolina state park, the Mayo River State Park.

From July 3, 1948 until the early 1970s, the site was operated as a community park. The original park owner, former textile giant Washington Mills Company, commissioned internationally renowned architect Antonin Raymond, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, to design the park and its recreational buildings. Raymond's architectural design was intended to blend with the densely wooded surroundings. After working in Japan for a number of years on projects such as the famous Imperial Hotel, Raymond returned to the United States and opened a firm with partner Ladislav Rado. The park's massive picnic shelter, historically renovated, reflects Raymond's Japanese-style architectural influence.

The cedar-shingled picnic shelter was built of hickory logs left in their natural state and used in combination with local stones and boulders. During the summer the shelter was left open to the elements, while during the winter a series of removable wooden shutters similar to Japanese Amado enclosed the shelter. The spectacular interior roof truss system which drew on Raymond’s designs in prewar Japan – particularly his St. Paul’s Catholic Church at Karuizawa (1934-35) – was left exposed. (p. 59) – Crafting a modern world: the architecture and design of Anotonin and Noemi Raymond, by Kurt Helfrich, 2006
I found these before pictures on H.M. Kern's website so that you can appreciate how much restoration work was done to bring this picnic shelter back to life:

And how the picnic shelter looks today:

A tiny little architectural gem in the rural Piedmont.


Carolina said...

Gorgeous building. Love the big chimney. Just a couple of more walls, some windows and I'll be moving in... ;-)
Cannot really see the Japanese influence though. To me it seems a typical American building. But what do I know.

Anyes said...

Looks like Mr.Sunshine came to visit both of us yesterday ;-)

rachel said...

Fascinating. What an interesting are of the world you live in!

moreidlethoughts said...

I could live in that!

Karen said...

Carolina: I definitely need to post more pictures of typical North Carolina buildings so that you can see how extremely different this is for the state. Also, check out the interior of St. Paul's Church to see where Raymond got the idea for the picnic shelter:

Anyes: Sunshine! It will be gone again the end of this week.

Rachel: And I think the same for your neck of the woods. Abbeys! Castles! Thatched-roof Houses!

Di: Maybe in the summer. They didn't bring back the wooden shutters for the winter and it would get a mite chilly.