Idea #11: Make the U.S. Pavilion a Community “Lantern”

Imagine this, but spread throughout the entire Pavilion superstructure on a new, translucent material. (PHOTO: CardCow)

Among the proposals being considered as part of the Riverfront Park Master Plan, the Parks Board and the Riverfront Park Advisory Committee are exploring the possibility of recovering the U.S. Pavilion structure in Riverfront Park and lighting it in order to make an incredibly unique architectural statement.

During Expo 74, the Pavilion was covered by a white vinyl material that easily ripped and tore, exposing the structural steel underneath. After the World’s Fair, Spokane residents chose to keep the superstructure, but the vinyl cover posed a safety hazard, and was taken down. Now, we have the opportunity to re-cover the Pavilion with a “durable, translucent material like Teflon-coated fiberglass,” (The Inlander) that didn’t exist back in the 70s.

Most interestingly, however, this recovering invites the possibility of lighting the superstructure as a sort of “lantern” for the community. A color could be chosen for typical nights, but events would offer an opportunity to show some character. Imagine the possibilities! The Pavilion could be lit in blue and green for Seahawks games, or lilac for Lilac Festival, or the color of the Bloomsday shirt for that year, or rainbow for gay pride events, or blue and red during the Zags’ March Madness run.

What do you think? Should the Pavilion be recovered and lit? Do you think that it sends a unique statement to the community? Share your thoughts in comments, tweets, posts, and responses.

5 thoughts on “Idea #11: Make the U.S. Pavilion a Community “Lantern”

  1. I think the restructuring of the pavilion along with a LED and projection system would be a great showcase addition to the area.
    I remember when it was covered (ultimately the wear and tear lead to its demise) however, every time I meet someone who was in Spokane they always remembered “The big tent”, the clock tower and the falls. Everyone has their own envision of what Riverfront Park should be myself I feel enhancing the area with an outdoor market, large ferris wheel, outdoor ice rink, vintage trolley from the Arena to downtown with stops in between and creating a large civic/bowl concert area under the pavilion would be great.
    With the lights you could use them to project events such as the NCAA Tourneys, Gonzaga, Hoop fest, Lilac Parade, New Years etc. Adding some additional light and character would really contribute to Spokane in my opinion.

  2. Love the idea!!! We need an iconic structure to the skyline and allowing it to be lit up reflecting the events in the community or region would be perfect!!! I hope the park board goes all out to make riverfront park the destination it should be being able to attract people an events from the ought the region and even the west coast!

  3. I have been a proponent of this idea ever since what was left of the cover was finally removed in 1980 give or take. Anyone who knows the area and is as old as I am can remember, driving down I 90 from Sunset Hill and seeing that iconic giant tent in the heart of the city. That tent, even ripped as it was, from a distance was beautiful. I say this…put the cover on in the spring, perhaps during Bloomsday week for a spring revival celebration, take off during the winter months, thereby ensuring the covers longevity for several years. Make the pavilion what it was meant to be, Spokane’s Iconic structure. I grew up in Spokane and now live in S.C, btw.


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