Custer Nugent Amphitheatre at Mill Race Park
Westlake Reed Leskosky recently won the competition to redesign an amphitheatre for Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana, home to a world-class collection of mid-century modern architecture. The project goals were to remedy functional deficiencies related to flooding of the original design, to increase the programming capabilities of the venue, preserve the existing topography/hydrology of the site and honor the nature of the existing structures in the Park. Our solution provided for a larger stage at lower elevation (to address sightline issues) that will be supported on simple caissons and elevated approximately six feet above existing grade allowing water to flow under, unimpeded.
The iconic, sculptural fabric canopy form is modeled in response to nature and the desire to provide solar, wind, and moisture protection for performers, equipment, and audiences. We have designed the enclosure systems as a "kit of parts" that may be implemented as funding allows. The stage enclosure, which is kinetic and operationally simple, consists of three elements--Stage Roof Awning + Vertical Curtains; Upper Side Panels; and the Mound Venue Canopy--which complements each other and may be implemented independently. The stage will have a waterproof roof canopy, and all sides of the stage will be outfitted with simply-installed retractable vertical curtains (secured with tie downs and designed to resist wind forces). The Upper Side Panels add visual interest and additional weather protection without the need to drop the vertical curtains. Finally, a fabric canopy is added to shade the audience and forestage of the Mound Venue. With all canopies installed, the amphitheater is a highly flexible, cost-effective venue. Together, they create a memorable composition--a unique signature expression of the energy, passion, and creativity of the events on stage and the envelopment of the community gathering in these venues in Mill Race Park.