Masonic Amphitheater – Virginia Tech’s design/buildLAB

Today we came across an amazing article covering a project by students out of the design/buildLAB at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Keith and Marie Zawistowski run the 3rd year studio that focuses on taking students through the process of design, development, and construction.  The project took 8 months and 16 students round the clock to bring it to realization.  Check it out more after the jump! 

SCHOOL: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 
PROFESSORS:  Keith and Marie Zawistowski
COURSE: design/buildLAB

Masonic Amphitheatre Construction Time Lapse from Leo Naegele on Vimeo.

“The design/buildLAB is a third year architecture studio focused on research, development, and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs.

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.”

All Text via : by Bridgete Meinhold

The following photos were taken by Clifton Forge photographer Chuck Almarez of the Fire and Light Gallery:


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