Posts tagged with "SPORTS Collaborative":
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 ArupLandscape 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.
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?