RSA Pavilion – The Concept

Pavilion Concept Drawing


Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, in a pose beside the World Globe in the RSA’s 5th Floor Board Room.

For weeks after our maintenance building project was canceled, we all speculated about the fate of the east end of the C-shaped parcel.  Some of us suggested to Bronner that it be utilized as additional parking space to support the Tower, but he would have none of that.  He wanted a concept which would serve as an anchor for the upper end of his lower Monroe Street development.  Perhaps it could be a small park, he mused, but what would be its theme?  His waterfall park, one block away, was dedicated to statewide figures, and he suggested that this smaller version be dedicated to the City of Montgomery.  Someone came up with a history theme and we were on the way again.

Thinking about the obvious Civil War era and the Civil Rights era, we quickly decided that we should divide the City’s entire history into similar periods and depict them with large high-relief bronze panels.  These we would mount on a “wall of history” which would flank the north property line of the site.  John Gandy and I determined that there were a total of seven such eras and he sketched a wall design which would accommodate the tablets.  To complement the wall, he proposed a six-sided pavilion, an architectural form which would make a pleasing contrast to the straight line form of the wall of history.

“What,” I asked Gandy, “will we display in the pavilion to justify its inclusion in our scheme?”  For weeks we agonized over the issue.  Early on we thought about a floor design which would be a map depicting the location of important events that had occurred in the city.   Try as we might, we just could not make the map concept work.

Then we considered depicting individuals and made numerous false starts in that venue.  There were to be six columns in the pavilion on which we could mount a bronze likeness, and we thought about illustrating six native-born Montgomerians “who have impacted the world”.  We could not think of six.  Then we envisioned distinguished Montgomery citizens (birth and rearing) who had made a “significant contribution to society”.  No luck there, either.  Next we pondered “six visionaries who impacted the world while residing in our city”.  Nothing seemed to produce a good answer, but all this shaped up to be a job as fun as it was unusual.

RSA Builds Park Clipping


-Charles Humphries (“Peril and Intrigue Within Architecture”)

This is one of many RSA Pavilion Park stories. The rest can be found here.

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