Located in Frederick’s downtown historic district, Sky Stage is a temporary artwork that uses vegetation and a digitally designed structure to breathe life into the damaged building. The organizers removed the plywood boards that formerly blocked public access to the historic stone building, which has no roof. Artist Heather Clark and MIT’s Digital Structures research group used computer algorithms to engineer a complex two-story-tall wooden lattice that forms the structural base for twisting ribbons covered in drought-resistant plantings. State-of-the-art green roof technology was used to create the spiraling vegetated bands that weave through the building’s open doors and windows.

Sky Stage in Frederick, Sky Stage by Heather Clark, Heather Clark by MIT Digital Structures, adaptive reuse historic Maryland building, Frederick historic building art project, sustainable Sky Stage

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A timber seating area was constructed next to the two-story structure to form an open-air theatre that accommodates 140 people. Trees integrated into the wooden benches soften the stone background and provide relief from the sun. Rainwater collected from an adjacent roof is stored in a cistern and reused to irrigate the plants and trees. The Frederick Arts Council and AmeriCorps will oversee the day-to-day operations of the theater as well as future creative endeavors for the public including plays, music acts, children’s story time, art classes, dance, history, literature, and film. The Sky Stage will be open through July 2017.

+ Sky Stage

Images via Heather Clark