Search results for "Ragdale Ring"

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Slurp It Up

Noodle Soup wins 2018 Ragdale Ring competition
The Ragdale Foundation, a nonprofit artist's community in Lake Forest, Illinois, has selected a design duo from Columbus, Ohio to design this year's Ragdale Ring. The temporary installation interprets the original Ragdale Ring, a theater in a garden designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw more than a century ago. Galo Canizares and Stephanie Sang Delgado, a project associate at DesignGroup, are calling their proposal Noodle Soup. In plan, five yellow-orange squiggles are loosely dispersed between blue and green objects that seem to weave the site's grassy lawn into lounge-y areas for seated relaxation. Here's what Canizares, a lecturer at the Ohio State University and founding principal of office cahad to say about the design: "[Noodle Soup] is conceived as an interactive playscape for outdoor performances. It consists of a set of fixed structures around which are soft, linear, pliable pieces of furniture. The soft elements can interact with the hard structures to serve functional purposes such as seating, but they can also act as oversized toys, freely configurable in a variety of ways." To build their design for its June 13 opening, Canizares and Delgado will have a design-build residency at Ragdale along with a $15,000 production grant. For the 2018 competition, an eight-member jury selected the duo's proposal from a pool of five finalists. The four runners-up were Wheeler Kearns's Iris, Katie MacDonald, Kyle Schumann, and Erin Pellegrino's Earthen Delight, Cyrus Penarroyo's Reflections on the Lawn, and Aleksandr Plotkin's Phantom.  Last year, Ann Arbor, Michigan–based T+E+A+M won the Ragdale Ring competition, and this year, four of the practice's members sat on the jury. They were joined by two representatives from the Ragdale Foundation, as well as Zurich Esposito of AIA Chicago and Phil Rosborough of Rosborough Partners. Prior winners include Bittertang, SPORTS, Design With Company, and Stephen Dietrich Lee. More information about the competition, opening day, and past winners can be found here.
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Land Of Illusion

T+E+A+M tapped to design this year’s Ragdale Ring outdoor theater

For the past four years, Ragdale, an artist residency in Chicago’s North Shore, has asked young architects to reimagine a historic garden stage that was once a focal point of its property. In these short years, the Ragdale Ring competition, and the accompanying Adrian Smith Prize, have proven to be architecturally adventurous, and often playfully eccentric.

This year’s iteration will be built by the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based T+E+A+M, a collaboration among young designers Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller. Their proposal, entitled LIVING PICTURE, superimposes images of the original 1912 Ragdale Ring onto a set of lightweight objects spread throughout the grounds. The scene of the original ring will be an immersive, if not surreal, space for the audience to become part of the theatrical setting. The varied scale of the objects also allows for the audience to position itself in relation to the stage, either sitting on or standing among the installation. The shapes, which make up the stage itself, will blend historic imagery with the lush surroundings of the property.

While the imagery on the installation will mostly be seen as disparate yet related images, audience members approaching from the Ragdale House will see the entire original Ring snap into view. Watching from the other approaches, viewers will discover the scene as a series of separate vignettes of the original.

“At the beginning of this year we suspended our individual practices and committed fully to T+E+A+M, but the fact that the four of us have practiced individually is one of the unique strengths of our collaboration,” Fure explained. “Each of us has different audiences through our previous work’s engagement with conversations inside and outside the discipline.

The objects will range in form, making up seating areas and platforms for performances. Arranged in seven clusters, most of the objects will also be hollow to provide storage. Their arrangement centralizes the audience while providing masked areas where performers can enter from stage-side.

The project will be built in late May, to be ready for four performances starting in mid-July. T+E+A+M, along with a group of workers, will live at Ragdale for 18 days to build the installation. The Adrian Smith Prize, sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, provides $15,000 for the construction.

The members of T+E+A+M are not strangers to exhibition and installation building. Between the four members, their work has been shown in multiple Venice biennales and at the Beijing International Art Biennale, the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Biennale, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Graham Foundation, to name just a few.

T+E+A+M will join the ranks of past Ragdale Ring designers SPORTS Collaborative, Bittertang, Design With Company, and Stephen Dietrich Lee. Last year’s iteration by SPORTS, entitled Rounds, won The Architect’s Newspaper’s 2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation.

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SPORTS announced as designers of the 2016 Ragdale Ring

SPORTS announced as designers of the 2016 Ragdale Ring
SPORTS is a design collaboration between architects Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, both faculty at the Syracuse University School of Architecture. The Adrian Smith Prize is awarded each year to a young design firm to build the Ragdale Ring, and outdoor performance space for the 50-acre Ragdale campus north of Chicago. SPORTS will receive a $15,000 production grant and a ten person residency for up to three weeks, starting May 23. SPORTS’s design, entitled Rounds, was selected by a jury of architects and artists. Comprised of an undulating circular ribbon, Rounds will be the site of public performance and garden party on June 9th. The rises and runs of the ribbon will act as the seating, stages, entries, and a space for the Ragdale community to gather throughout the summer. The original Ragdale Ring was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912 as an open air theater for his playwright wife. Since 2013 Ragdale has re-imagined the Ring through an annual international competition. Ragdale specifically looks for designs that “explore intersections of architecture, sculpture, landscape, design, public art, and performance disciplines.” “I am proud to support the Ragdale Ring competition which uniquely serves the field of architecture and dynamically engages the public. Rounds is an exceptional design solution and I look forward to its successful construction and use,” remarked prize sponsor and jury member, Adrian Smith in this year’s announcement. Ragdale offers upwards of 200 residencies and fellowships annually at their campus in Lake Forest, IL, just north of Chicago. At any given time 13 artist are in residency working uninterrupted for weeks at a time. While SPORTS is in residency they will take part in nightly family style dinners, and have full access to the campuses 50 acres of prairie.
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Enormous architecture-shaped pillows will fill a vacant field for Chicago’s third annual Ragdale Ring
A suburban field on Chicago's North Shore will host a fantastical summer pavilion fashioned after a toy box, with outsized pillows in the shape of architectural elements, according to designs selected as the winner of the third annual Ragdale Ring competition. Young Chicago designers Design With Company (Dw/Co) took their cues from the original Ragdale Ring garden theatre designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912. The Ragdale Foundation was founded in 1897 on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Shaw’s summer home in Lake Forest, Illinois, 30 miles north of Chicago. Architects Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer dubbed their contemporary interpretation of the outdoor theater Shaw Town. Dw/Co plucked architectural details from some of Shaw's early 20th century buildings in the Chicago area—such as the rooftops of Market Square in Lake Forest and the Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago—and created “audience-friendly pillows” in their form, to be stored in a giant wooden toy box when not in use. “The moveable pillows sprinkled across the landscape are intended to be used by the audience in a multitude of ways from seating to play,” reads Ragdale's announcement. “Visitors are encouraged to rediscover Shaw’s buildings without even knowing it.” Last year's winner, New York–based Bittertang Farm, sculpted an earthen grotto from packs of hay. (See a gallery of photos from that installation here.) Like Bittertang's ring, Shaw Town is also made from biodegradable materials. Shaw Town, whose construction will be funded by a $15,000 production grant, debuts June 13 at 1230 North Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Illinois. More information can be found on Ragdale's website, ragdale.org.
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Bittertang Farms sculpts hay into a North Shore theater for 102nd Ragdale Ring competition
Studio Gang’s treehouse revamp of Writers Theatre isn’t the only North Shore performance space to dance with organic forms. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 to install a temporary stage for performances in Lake Forest, where renderings show sculpted piles of hay and wavy architectural forms that “melt into the existing landscape.” Their design will be the 102nd iteration of the Ragdale Ring, a competition that invites architects, designers, and artists to cook up ideas for a temporary outdoor theater space on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. The nonprofit Ragdale Foundation has supported artist residencies and exhibitions since its founding in 1897 on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s summer home in Lake Forest, Illinois, 30 miles north of Chicago (1230 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Illinois). “At Ragdale we are creating a new ground—one that brings together different architectural forms, including grottoes, gardens, mounds and hay piles to create a structure that can be performed ‘on’ as well as ‘under,’” said Loverich and Torres in a statement. Construction on the temporary structure will begin this month, with the public unveiling scheduled for June 14. The debut will be a benefit show featuring a “masked garden party” and performances by musicians and actors inside the Ring. “The Ring will serve as a gathering place, enlivening the historic campus of Ragdale as a place of dynamic artistic and architectural experimentation,” said Zurich Esposito, executive vice president of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), juror, and a member of Ragdale’s board of directors. “And, when the season concludes, the Ring is ultimately biodegradable.” The design appears as a larger version of an installation the firm built on New York City's Governors Island in 2011.
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Thin Mint

SPORTS’s giant green ribbon lands in Chicago’s north suburbs

A glimpse of a bright green form caught my eye as I missed the driveway of the Ragdale Foundation estate north of Chicago. A red Ferrari was close behind my rental car, and I couldn’t slow down in time to make the turn. The 50-acre Ragdale estate is situated in the wooded Lake Forest community, home to some of Chicago’s wealthiest families. The green apparition I spotted was this year’s Ragdale Ring.

The Ragdale Ring is a temporary open-air theater designed each year by winners of the foundation’s Adrian Smith Prize. This year’s iteration, designed by Syracuse-based SPORTS, is entitled Rounds. Fittingly, the installation is an undulating arching ribbon creating a perfect 70-foot diameter circle in plan. Nestled in a clearing in the forested front of the estate, the piece ties into its surroundings with curving archways. The arches rise to different heights, forming varied elevated seating areas, passages to the center, and one large space designated for a stage. Each arch responds to different conditions around the site, such as the main house, the residency building, or an entry path. The mint green color is vibrant, yet complementary to its verdant surroundings.

Thanks to engineering assistance from Arup, the piece is constructed out of waffled framed plywood and stands with no visible support. Landscape architects Rosborough Partners prepared the site with subtle rises where the ribbon hits the ground—combined with a meticulous paint job, it is hard to understand exactly how the ring was built, even when standing close. The result is the appearance that the entire ring was brought as one piece, maybe dropped on the site by some playful aliens.

SPORTS is a design collaboration between architects Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, faculty members at the Syracuse School of Architecture. Corso, Hunker, and a small team lived at Ragdale for three weeks in order to construct Rounds. The Adrian Smith Prize provides a $15,000 production grant and Ragdale provides room and board for the entire team, who also takes part in communal dinners and has access to the property’s forest and prairies. 

The Ragdale property was originally the country home of Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Shaw was also the designer of the original Ragdale Ring in 1912. That first open air theater was specifically designed for his playwright wife. This year’s ring is the fourth since Ragdale initiated a program to reimagine the original in 2013. Now an international competition, it calls for designs that “explore intersections of architecture, sculpture, landscape, design, public art, and performance disciplines.”

Ragdale is not normally open to the public. The property is kept private to provide space for its nearly 200 annual residents to work without interruption. Fortunately, the public can experience Rounds in person—tickets are available to the public for a small number of performances throughout the late summer. The next of these will be a jazz concert August 18. What better way to finish a picturesque drive through Chicago’s mansion-filled north suburbs, than with a jazz concert in an uncannily mint green theater?

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A pair of Chicago architects planted this electric pink porch in downtown Vancouver
A stand-alone porch with a psychedelic paint job opened earlier this month on Vancouver's Robson Street, beckoning passersby to inhabit the lighthearted public space for the fifth round of the city's Robson Redux design-build competition. Porch Parade, by Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer—together, Design With Company or Dw/Co—is a temporary shelter from the summer sun that will be recycled after its residency on the 800 block of Robson Street with the help of a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The young Chicago architects schemed up the space in collaboration with Jana Yeboah. “The design features a collection of porches that appear abstract at first, but when full of visitors, becomes a lively and familiar atmosphere for downtown Vancouver,” according to the project description by Viva Vancouver, the public art entity that stages Robson Redux. "Porch Parade" (Design with Company) Hicks and Newmeyer were also featured in the eclectic Graham Foundation show Treatise: Why Write Alone?, put on earlier this year by Jimenez Lai. Their whimsical installation Shaw Town opened last month for visitors to The Ragdale Foundation's annual Ragdale Ring pavilion. The design played off original Ragdale architect Howard Van Doren Shaw's arts-and-crafts forms with a collection of architectural pillows stored in a giant toy box. Their winning entry for Viva Vancouver was selected by a jury of “prominent Vancouver urban thinkers,” said spacing magazine, from more than 80 entries exhibited at the Museum of Vancouver in March. "Porch Parade" (Design with Company) Honorable mentions went to: #icu by Jeanie Lim, Jason Pielak, Grace Chang, Christine Chung, and Samuel McFaul; Robson Reclaimed by Haeccity Studio Architecture – Travis Hanks and Shirley Shen; Basic Re-Purpose Design – Theunis Snyman; and Jorge Roman; and Greenest Block by D’Arcy Jones Architecture – D’Arcy Jones, Matthew Ketis-Bendena, Craig Bissell, Dea Knight, and Caralyn Jeffs.
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Bittertang Farms’ organic amphitheater sprouts from straw in Lake Forest, Illinois
Work wrapped up this summer on Bittertang Farms’ installation at Ragdale, the nonprofit artists’ community in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, and true to its plans the straw amphitheater springs forth from a lush hillside in Lake Forest, Illinois. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 earlier this year to erect the 102nd Ragdale Ring—an ongoing design competition for temporary outdoor theater spaces in north suburban Chicago. Based in Mexico City and New York City, the designers evoked the theater’s bucolic setting with straw-filled tubes of biodegradable material. Dubbed Buru Buru, Bittertang’s amphitheater creeps up from the soil with straw wattle tendrils. Wrapping around a framework of trusses, it forms a pentagonal opening whose womb-like quality is only enhanced by LEDs that illuminate the interior at night. Buru Buru’s organic elements are more than a formal nod to fuzzy ideas—the structure is actually meant to entwine with its natural habitat over time. In addition to sheltering actors and activating the rolling hills of Lake Forest, Buru Buru is also a substrate for growing grasses and mushrooms.
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Metal Mesh Mirage

SPORTS creates traveling “loungescape” for Santa Barbara
Syracuse, New York–based SPORTS recently completed the installation of their Runaway pavilion, a striking arrangement of wire metal meshes designed as an ode to the unique atmospheric qualities of Santa Barbara, California. In a statement, the designers explained their desire to “architecturalize the aesthetic quality of the air” in the beachside community, a shifting environmental phenomenon caused by the confluence of intense inland heat and cooler beach fog. The resulting “June gloom,” serves as the inspiration for the project. The pavilion is made up of three triangular masses constructed from rectilinear elements that can be repositioned variously. The masses—which have nested shapes scooped out from their interior volumes—seem to dematerialize in place, as their bright cyan, magenta, and yellow forms catch the passing light. The so-called “loungescape” works at a variety of scales and functions. Based on the arrangement and orientation of the forms, the pavilion can work as a simple wall used to demarcate space or as something grander, like a performance stage. The shapes can also be used as casual seating elements. The pieces will move around the city, starting with the Santa Barbara Pier. From there, they will travel to a number of different neighborhoods and be installed in at least six sites. The composition of the project will vary according to each locale, a process the designers envision will unlock the multi-functional nature of the pieces. SPORTS completed a mint-green seating installation in Chicago’s suburbs last year. The current installation is the result of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara’s Take Part / Make Art Pavilion competition that sought to reposition the museum as a force for urban art through traveling, neighborhood-based installations. The pavilion will move throughout the city, changing location every few weeks, through mid-August of this year.
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Curve Control

2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Rounds by SPORTS
The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Rounds

Architect: SPORTS Location: Lake Forest, IL

Rounds is a temporary plywood theater pavilion created for an artist colony just north of Chicago. It was the winner of the Adrian Smith Prize, which is sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and included a $15,000 production grant and a ten-person, design-build residency for three weeks at Ragdale. Departing from the bandshell structure and stage most commonly deployed in this setting, Rounds establishes a dynamic and playful performance surface. Small-scale curves in the ring’s ribbon-like design act as lounge spaces while mid-scale waves serve both as covered stage areas and portals to the inner space of the ring. The largest undulation is designed for the main stage area, which can be broken down into smaller parts and distributed around the ring for several concurrent performances.

Additional support for the project was provided by Syracuse University School of Architecture and W.E. O’Neil.

Build Team Greg Corso, Molly Hunker, Jordan Nelson, Nick Zukauskas, Kevin Lenhart, Preston Welker, Sean Morgan, Dabota Wilcox, Jon Anthony, Monika  England, Kokeith  Perry, Sarah Beaudoin

Engineer Arup

Landscape Architect Rosborough Partners Fabrication Consultant Knowhow Shop Exterior Finish Stuc-O-Flex Honorable Mention, Temporary Installation: Floating The Waller

Architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Location: Austin, TX

This installation of 200 empty illuminated inner tubes floating on Austin’s Waller Creek was conceived to highlight the need for improving water quality, ecological health, and public accessibility in urban waterways.

Honorable Mention, Temporary Installation: Town Branch Water Walk

Architect: SCAPE Landscape Architecture Location: Lexington, KY

The design intervention is not a physical landscape, but a communication tool conceived with the Lexington, Kentucky, Downtown Development Authority. A self-guided podcast tour of the Town Branch Culvert gives a broad understanding of the biophysical area, reveals the invisible waters beneath the city, and demonstrates the impacts each resident can have.

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It could happen to you: Scultpor Thomas Doyle contemplates domestic life through miniature scenes of destruction
Sculptor Thomas Doyle offers a profound, if morose, take on domestic life and interpersonal relationships by repurposing playthings into artwork that speaks. Using materials and miniatures originally used for the backdrop of model train sets, Doyle creates miniature dioramas enclosed eerily in airless bell jars. Otherwise soothing scenes of suburbia are rendered in seemingly post-apocalyptic states, with clapboard houses smashed, missing walls, or semi-consumed by a sinkhole no developer could have anticipated. Faceless, stone-like figures half-buried in foliage are juxtaposed with the frontlines of military conflicts enacted by toy soldiers whom, despite their plastic countenances, look convincingly world-weary. “My works aren’t post-apocalyptic, but there’s an anxiety triggered by that unrealized desire to transcend reality and enter those worlds,” Doyle told the Wall Street Journal. One poignant scene shows a home surrounded by a circle of destruction – shards of wood and presumably, the detritus of other eviscerated homes – with one lone survivor, a half-inch tall, lingering in the garden. Another shows the cross section of a living room torn asunder, a man standing before the fireplace with a dish towel over his shoulder as his wife turns away from him, suitcases in hand. Each enclosed art piece, measuring just 7 by 12 inches, must be viewed through a 2-inch piece of concave glass, which turns the diminutive scenes into endless vistas with no way out. The tiny scenes are wrought from wood, wire, foam, styrene and papier-mache, and some critics have inferred references to America’s housing crisis, but Doyle insists on a muse much closer to home – frayed relationships, debt, anxiety. “I don’t have a very rosy view of the future and I suppose that telegraphs quite clearly through my work,” Doyle told Fast Company in an interview. The dioramas were displayed recently in the Dream No Small Dream exhibition at London’s Ronchini Gallery as part of a group show of miniature art. His work also appeared in a Thames & Hudson book titled Big Art/Small Art, published in late 2014.
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Real-life SimCity in New Mexico to become testing ground for new technologies that will power smart cities
A simulation video game can become a powerful innovation lab for new urban technologies, where researchers can test-drive every outlandish “what-if?” in a controlled environment. The Center for Innovation, Technology and Evaluation is launching a full-scale SimCity—a small, fully functioning ghost town equipped with the technology touted by futurists as the next generation of smart cities. Resembling a modest American town with a population of 35,000 spread over 15 miles, the virtual metropolis is sited on a desolate stretch of land in southern New Mexico. Set to be wired with mock-up utilities and telecommunications systems as realistically as possible, the quintessentially mediocre town will even have a gas station, big box store, and a simulated interstate highway alongside its tall office buildings, parks, houses and churches. The town will also be sectioned into urban, rural and suburban zones. From nuclear war to natural disasters to a stock market crash or a triple whammy of all three, the ho-hum hypothetical town will soon play host to driverless cars and packages delivered by drones, alternative energy power generation and never-before-tested public monitoring, security and computer systems. The goal of CITE is to provide the opportunity to test large-scale technology experimentations in real-world conditions “without anyone getting hurt,” said Bob Brumley, managing director of Pegasus Global Holdings, the Washington state-based technology development firm behind the concept. Brumley estimates that support infrastructure, including electric plants and telecommunications, will take 24 months to create, while the city will be fully built between 2018 and 2020. The uninhabited virtual city affords possibilities to test otherwise non-starter ideas hampered by safety and feasibility concerns in the real world, where human beings are the most fickle of variables. “It will be a true laboratory without complication and safety issues associated with residents. Here you can break things and run into things and get used to how they work before taking them out into the market,” Brumley told Wired. One of numerous experiments he envisions involves deploying a fleet of driverless freight trucks controlled by a centralized wireless network. Testing on a real freeway, on the other hand, would be too hazardous. Other ideas range from simple practicalities—having small drones drop off packages on doorsteps—to cataclysm readiness—simulating, a large-scale, real-time attack on energy, telecommunications and traffic systems, or the effect of a “massive electromagnetic pulse attack on all the integrated circuits in our economy.” Brumley estimates an initial investment of $550–600 million in direct investment, with an estimated total cost of $1 billion over the next five years as the city grows in size and complexity. We can only hope that their servers don’t crash.