In architecture, a pavilion (from French pavillon, from Latin papilio) has several meanings. In architectural terminology it refers to a subsidiary building that is either positioned separately or as an attachment to a main building. Often its function makes it an object of pleasure.
In the traditional architecture of Asia, palaces or other large houses may have one or more subsidiary pavilions that are either freestanding or connected by covered walkways, as in the Forbidden City, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and in the Red Fort and other buildings of Mughal architecture.
In another more specific meaning applied to large palaces, it refers to symmetrically placed subsidiary building blocks that appear to be attached to each end of a main building block or to the outer ends of wings that extend from both sides of a central building block – the corps de logis. Such configurations provide an emphatic visual termination to the composition of a large building, akin to bookends.
Pavilions may be small garden outbuildings, similar to a summer house or a kiosk; small rooms on the roof of a large house, reached only via the roof (rather than by internal stairs) may also be called pavilions. These were particularly popular up to the 18th century and can be equated to the Italian casina, formerly rendered in English "casino". These often resembled small classical temples and follies. Especially if there is some space for food preparation, they may be called a banqueting house. A pavilion built to take advantage of a view may be referred to as a gazebo. Bandstands in a park are a class of pavilion. A pool house by a swimming pool may have sufficient character and charm to be called a pavilion. By contrast, a free-standing pavilion can also be a far larger building such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, which is in fact a large oriental style palace; however, like its smaller namesakes, the common factor is that it was built for pleasure and relaxation.
A sports pavilion is usually a building adjacent to a sports ground used for changing clothes and often partaking of refreshments. Often it has a verandah to provide protection from the sun for spectators. In cricket grounds, as at Lords, a cricket pavilion tends to be used for the building the players emerge from and return to, even when this is actually a large building including a grandstand. The term pavilion can also be used in stadia, especially baseball parks, to distinguish a typically single-decked, covered seating area from the more expensive seating area of the main grandstand and the less expensive seating area of the uncovered bleachers.
Externally, pavilions may be emphasised by any combination of a change in height, profile (a flat facade may end in round pavilions, or flat ones that project out), colour, material, and ornament. Internally they may be part of a rectangular block, or only connected to the main block by a thin section of building. The two 18th-century English country houses of Houghton Hall and Holkham Hall, illustrate these different approaches in turn.
In the Place des Vosges, Paris (1605–12), twin pavilions mark the centers of the north and south sides of the square (illustration, lower). They are named the Pavillon du Roi and the Pavillon de la Reine though no royal personage ever lived in the square. With their triple archways, they function like gatehouses that give access to the privileged space of the square. French gatehouses had been built in the form of such pavilions in the preceding century.
In some areas, a pavilion is a term for a hunting lodge. The "Pavillon de Galon" in Luberon, France is a typical 18th century aristocratic hunting pavilion. The pavilion, located on the site of an old Roman villa, includes a garden "à la française," which was used by the guests for receptions.
The frontage of Houghton Hall ends in a pavilion on each side
Plan of the main part of Holkham Hall, where, unlike Houghton, only a thin section connects the pavilions to the main block
Pavilions at each end of the facade of the Upper Belvedere, Vienna
Banqueting House at Studley Royal Park
Island pavilion in the Chinese Garden, Zürich,
built in 1993
Picnic shelter at Yarramundi Reach Canberra
Stone Pavilion at Indian Springs State Park
White Sawan or Bhadon pavilion in Red Fort Delhi
- Media related to Pavilions at Wikimedia Commons