Reconstructing the Bernie King Pavilion

May 30, 2006
Publication: Structural Engineering and Public Safety, Proceedings of the 2006 Structures Congress, May 18-21, 2006, St. Louis, Missouri, ASCE

Abstract: The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), formerly the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), is charged with maintaining the Bernie King Pavilion. Built in the late nineteenth century, this open timber structure provided shade on sunny days and shelter from occasional storms to generations of beachgoers on Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts. The structure's west wall formed a partial enclosure, with varying low and full-height in-fill panels. A low-slope roof rose from the west eave to a ridge line very close to the structure's east edge. There, a steep pitch brought the roof line back down to the ocean-facing eave. The pavilion's east side was fully open, with a view of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. As the MDC architect and project manager examined the condition of the structure, he realized that the timbers and their connections had suffered irreparably from a century of exposure to New England weather. Repair would be impractical. The MDC made the difficult decision to raze the existing building and replace it with a historically faithful reproduction. What began as a structural evaluation of the existing timber structure became an assignment to design a structure and all of its connections to meet the demands of current building codes, and to satisfy the aesthetic objectives of a passionate historical society.