Students at Virginia Tech's design/buildLAB recently completed their latest project -- an open air theater in Clifton Forge, Virginia. Built on a reclaimed industrial site next to a creek, the new theater and surrounding park provides new opportunities for the public arts and community interaction as a way to help revitalize the town. The Masonic Amphitheatrere was prefabricated at Virginia Tech using locally-sourced lumber and digitally fabricated metal composite panels.
Students began working on plans for the Masonic Amphitheatre in the fall of 2011 as part of the third year architecture student program, designbuild/LAB at Virginia Tech. The 16-person team worked with community members to reinvision the site and provide space for meetings, events, concerts, and much more. The school’s previous design/build class had dismantled the warehouse that sat on the site and used it to build the Covington Farmer’s Market. All that was left was the foundation, which was used as the base for the new theater. Each student contributed an idea to the project, which was seen as a built structure emerging out of the landscape of the park. The lawn slowly ramps up to connect to the roof and other landscape elements form the amphitheater seating.
Much of the work for the theater was prefabricated offsite before bringing it to Clifton Forge where it was assembled. The students used locally sourced white oak and utilized digital fabrication techniques to cut the wood and the metal composite panels as a way of minimizing waste. The overall design of the structure seeks to connect the stage with both the creek in the back as well as the landscape open space. Pervious paving materials allow stormwater to infiltrate the ground rather than run off into the creek. LED lights minimize energy use and orientation and use of trees for shade provide protection from the sun. Watch a time lapse video of the construction here.
Images ©Chuck Almarez