Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, on the site of Woodstock, recently finished its first design-build camp called the 2022 Bethel Woods Art and Architecture Festival. Students and professors from Cornell University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Kean University and Rochester Institute of Technology came together to celebrate the festival’s theme of “Adapt, Mitigate, Design.” The theme encouraged teams to engage with architecture’s power to affect positive social and environmental change.

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Long bridge pavilion made of wood

Starting off, each pavilion for the festival was designed to accommodate different programs at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. These programs include music performances and pop-up art events.

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Square, colorful wooden boxes and trellises

Frame Folly is a latticework of four-inch by four-inch beams interspersed with boxed frames that reorient the viewer’s attention to scenes in the landscape. Designed like a puzzle that can be reconstructed and moved to focus on new curated focal points, the project is a whimsical structure that explores how we can reframe relationships between our communal and environmental habitats.

Stone wall behind architecture piece

Following, Boardwalk is placed next to a historic rock wall and barn used as infrastructure at the 1969 Woodstock festival. The project is also made out of reclaimed lumber from over 100 years ago and uses no metal fasteners. This allows the installation to be disassembled and reassembled with no tools. This project serves as a boardwalk for visitors to walk while taking in views of the historic Woodstock grounds.

Wooden slope that blends into the grass

Next up is Mound, a curving ramp coming up from the ground. The ramp allows visitors to travel across the lawn where attendees of the 1969 Woodstock festival once camped. Moreover, the horseshoe-shaped plan invites visitors upward to access views of the grounds. It also faces a small gathering space for people to congregate. Additionally, the installation allows visitors to leave their own footprint on new ground. In doing so, the intention is to symbolize the continuing cycles of birth and rebirth of personal connections to the spirit of the original Woodstock festival.

A student in one of the art pieces painting

And finally, the Inverted Ziggurat re-envisions a 2021 installation — a 20-foot cantilevered structure descending in two-foot increments to a four-foot core. The original installation was covered with mirrored Mylar sheets that reflected the surrounding area. Therefore, the surface reflection changed as the viewer moved around the project. The 2022 re-envisioning of this installation stiffens the structure with plywood panels, allowing the piece to withstand the strong winds that affect the area. Panels were painted by Michael Randels, a mural artist at Woodstock ’99, to be a tie-dye reflection of the landscape during the 1969 festival.

The 2022 Bethel Woods Art and Architecture Festival is part of a three-year pilot to develop a signature design-build program based on the Hello Wood “Builder Method” methodology pioneered by Peter Pozsar. The 2023 Bethel Woods Art and Architecture Festival will expand the program to eight universities invited to the event, with a focus on interdisciplinary design teams.

+ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Images via Bethel Woods Center for the Arts