Keeping Madison’s Royal Thai Pavilion Beautifulposted
A few weeks ago, I visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens to learn about the rehabilitation of the Royal Thai Pavilion. There are many stakeholders involved in this project, including representatives from Olbrich, City Engineering, UW-Madison, UW-Madison Alumni Association, and dignitaries from The Royal Thai Embassy-Washington D.C. and The Royal Thai Consulate-Chicago.
After 22 years in Madison, the Royal Thai Pavilion needs of a new roof. More than 18,000 ceramic tiles were removed from the roof of the pavilion by hand. Writing is still visible on the back side of some tiles – remnants of a tile signing ceremony held on September 13, 2001 during which the public was invited to write messages of hope and peace on tiles as the roof was constructed. A few of these tiles are currently on display in Olbrich’s lobby if you’d like a closer look yourself.
The highlight of the visit was donning a hard hat and seeing the pavilion up close from the scaffolding that encompasses it. Being so close to the exquisite detail and expert craftsmanship of the pavilion was an incredible experience and reminded me how lucky Madison is to be the home of this beautiful gift.
The Royal Thai Pavilion will be closed and surrounded by a construction tent during the majority of the project. Future plans include working with UW-Madison and other stakeholders to bring artisans from Thailand to Madison in 2024 to rehab the mirrors, gold leafing, and other beautiful details of this cultural gem.
Olbrich will host a roof tile signing ceremony, most likely in January, and I invite you to participate. Much like in 2001, we’re at a period in time when the world needs more hope and peace; the sentiments preserved on the new roof tiles will continue to symbolize a sense of community and international friendship for years to come.