Workers have completed the Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Gardens, a gift from the Thai chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and the government of Thailand.
The pavilion was first assembled in Thailand, then taken apart and shipped to the United States in late July. The artisans arrived in Madison Sept. 11 and began reassembling the pavilion, or sala, Sept. 12 following a traditional Thai ceremony that involved raising the first pillar and establishing the connection between the building's spirit and those of its surroundings. The pavilion, known as a sala in Thailand, is made of teak. It is 30 feet high, 40 feet long and 22 feet wide, and features a high lacquer finish and gold leaf etchings and bears the royal seal of the Thai Crown. Its craftsmanship follows the principles and design of traditional Thai construction. There are no nails holding it together, only joinery.
The pavilion will be surrounded by a Thai garden. Work begins on the garden this coming spring.
The artisans who crafted the pavilion were chief craftsman Damrongrit Boonkampra; traditional craftsmen Somchai Satsuphap, Nikhom Phoempoon, Thaksin Ruayngoen, Thongkon Yimpradit and Thonglor Chatri; chief gold leaf painter Iang Phinyosunan; and gold leaf painters Thiwa Bungsri and Sema Sukkasemsamran. The best location from which to view pavilion assembly is Olbrich's perennial garden, which is directly across Starkweather Creek from the site. The pavilion site is on the south side of Starkweather Creek next to the Olbrich Park boat landing on Atwood Avenue.
There will be no public access to the site of the Thai Pavilion and Garden until mid-June, when the official opening is scheduled.
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