Masonic Amphitheatre

Clifton Forge
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Virginia Tech
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Drawing © design/buildLAB
513 Church Street, 24422 Clifton Forge

Tyler Atkins, Lauren Duda, Huy Duong, Derek Ellison, Megumi Ezure, Katherine Harpst, Kyle Lee, Leo Naegele, Margaret Nelson, Leah Schaffer, Ian Shelton, Brent Sikora, Emarie Skelton, Samantha Stephenson, Taylor Terrill, Samantha Yeh

Marie Zawistowski, Architecte DPLG – Professor of Practice
Keith Zawistowski, Assoc. AIA, GC – Professor of Practice

General Contractor
Commonwealth Contracting Services

Structural/Civil Engineer
Draper Aden and Associates

Theatre Consultant
Theatre Consultants Collaborative

Acoustical Consultants
Michael Ermann, Ana Jaramillo

Environmental Impact Consultant
Robert Schubert

Geotechnical Engineer
Froehling & Robertson, Inc

Hydraulic Engineer
Hassan Water Resources

Truss Engineering
Timber Truss

CAM Technician
Chip Clark

Landscape Consultant
Brian Katen

The project consists of the complete redevelopment of a post-industrial brownfield into a public park and performance space. The idea driving the design is that the built elements are sculptural forms emerging out of the landscape of the park. The park is a series of extruded lawns and carved paths that knit the surrounding urban fabric into the site’s circulation. The built elements include a stage with acoustic shell, a backstage with loading dock, green room and wings, a seating area, and a sound and lighting control booth. The ground plane is peeled up from the stage to create its shell. Steam-bent white oak walls curve to define secluded pockets offstage and intermediary zones of varying intimacy, allowing performers to slip in and out of audience view. The interior walls and ceiling of the shell are sculpted to naturally project acoustics toward the audience. Its interior is lined in CNC-routed composite panels with aluminum, zinc, titanium and stainless steel skins. The backstage area is conceived as a creek-side terrace: an intimate place for waiting performers or a casual place for social interaction. To this end, benches pull up from the deck to invite pause and crape myrtle trees push through its surface to provide shade. The rough-sawn white oak cladding dampens the noise of the rushing creek water, allowing it to resonate on the backstage terrace but muting it from the stage and audience. Wood benches provide cool summer seating for an audience of 200 in the sloping gravel orchestra. Staggered alignment allows for wheel chairs and folding chairs to be dispersed within the audience rather than at the periphery. A central aisle, sliced diagonally through the benches, allows people to get in and out with minimal disturbance to their neighbors and accentuates a major pedestrian axis across the town. The elevated lawns provide overflow seating for an additional 800. Sound and lighting is controlled from a covered booth: an oak wedge, nested at the corner of the seating area. Its shape and location provide maximum shelter for the control equipment with minimal impact on audience sight lines. The material pallet anchors the project in its context, while the timeless contours reflect the creativity and aspirations of a forward thinking community.

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