Some historians suggest that the Pavilion form was derived from the Japanese irimoya roof, which was utilitized on Buddhist temple structures beginning in the 7th Century. The Pavilion form of today however gained popularity when Wichita, Kansas architect Richard Burke developed a modified version of the roof form for the Pizza Hut chain in 1964. Later the McDonald’s corporation, utilized the style when they opened a new proto-type sit- down restaurant, which featured a “double mansard” style roof in Matteson, Illinois, in 1968-69. Quickly the building form proliferated across the country, perhaps because the distinctive shape set the building apart from the existing built environment. By the late 1960s the form was utilized for for a variety of building types ranging from small commercial and professional buildings, to dwellings and large educational facilities.
While the Pavilion form can be found mainly on small scale commercial buildings, many insitutional facilities often used the form to break up the mass of the large footprints needed to construct large buildings such as elementary schools. The ensuing look is that of a “cluster” development of smaller scale buildings. Some residential examples can also be found, although they are rare.
The defining characterisic of the Pavilion form is its distinctive roof shape which utilizes two roof shapes stacked upon each other. The lower roof, always has a shallow hip form while the upper roof can utilize a steep hip, gable or mansard form. The resulting silhouette of the building is a structure with hipped roof and a boxlike crown. For small-scale commercial buildings, the steep sloping crown could easily support an area for a large advertising sign. Utilized on larger buildings with a mansard style crown, the area offers a convenient space to hide mechanical equipment. Often atop the upper roof is a central skylight, or space reserved for a chimney flue. Pavilion structures often have floor to ceiling openings of glass, wide over-hanging boxed eaves and sliding glass doors. Their exteriors can be clad in brick, clapboard, T-1-11, stone, or stucco.