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open air theatre new york

Studio Gang unveils design for mass-timber theatre in the Hudson Valley

US architecture firm Studio Gang is set to create an open-air theatre and a series of pavilions using mass-timber elements for a Hudson Valley theatre company.

Located in Upstate New York, the project will be the permanent home of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HSVF), a non-profit theatre company which previously housed its productions underneath tents at a site nearby.

studio gang theatre open air
Studio Gang has unveiled the design for an open-air theatre complex in the Hudson Valley

Studio Gang's 13,850-square-foot (1,286-square-metre) project will be comprised of a central open-air theatre and accompanying pavilions that will contain utilities, a concession stand and public restrooms.

Renderings of the theatre show a large, rippling roof atop triangular columns, which will be constructed using timber framing and a post-and-beam ceiling.

The amenity pavilions fan out along the theatre's back, while at the front it opens to overlook views of Storm King Mountain and the Hudson Valley.

studio gang open air theatre
It will consist of a central theatre and several amenity pavilions, with landscape design by Nelson Byrd Architects

"Our design aims to help the company build on their strengths, with low-carbon architecture that improves daily functionality and amplifies the traditions that define its open-air performances – like the spectacular proscenium arch framing an iconic Hudson River view – as well as create new opportunities for audiences and actors to interact before and after the show," said Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang.

Natural ventilation, brise soleil systems, rooftop solar panels and an "extensive" green roof will also be integrated into the theatre as part of HSVF's commitment to sustainability and stewardship of its 98-acre (40-hectare) site.

According to the studio, it will be the first purpose-built LEED-platinum theatre in the United States.

The structures will also be clad in natural materials intended to "evoke the minerality of the region".

Landscape architecture studio Nelson Byrd Architects will replace the former golf course on-site with native grasses and wetlands.

"The landscape is designed as an experiential sequence, as visitors, upon arrival, encounter a mix of unpaved and accessible paths that guide them up and through a hillside meadow leading to picnic lawns and the theatre plaza," said Studio Gang.

Shakespeare festival theatre
The theatre will be topped with a timber canopy and columns

Outdoor gathering spaces will be located adjacent to the theatre, while an overlook will provide additional space for pre and post-performance events.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in 2024.

Studio Gang recently completed a timber canopy for a Memphis waterfront park and is set to design the Clinton Presidential Center expansion in Arkansas.

The images are courtesy Studio Gang. 

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site plan for Shakespeare festival installtion