The Butterfly Effect

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sprague Butterfly Pavilion

Santa Barbara, CA

Blending Campus and Gardens

Situated above the edge of Mission Creek under a canopy of specimen oak and sycamore trees, the new pavilion serves as a gateway to the museum’s outdoor learning areas. The blending of historic elements found within adjacent Spanish Colonial Revival buildings and the contemporary parabolic arch structure allow the pavilion to stylistically meld with the surrounding campus and natural setting.

Understanding the Natural World

The pavilion’s organic shape is informed by the habits of butterflies, which are unable to navigate out of 90-degree corners. The structure and grounds are designed for reconfiguration to accommodate rotating exhibits, events and educational programs about local native habitat, environmental stewardship and connecting children with nature.

Historic Details, Local Materials

The sandstone back wall and vestibules were informed by the pattern and rhythm of historic structures on campus and a rigorous analysis of local materials that would satisfy the Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission.

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