Rounds is the winning design for the 2016 Ragdale Ring international design-build competition and the recipient of the Adrian Smith Prize. The project is a temporary theater pavilion for the Ragdale Foundation, an artist colony 30 miles north of Chicago in the community of Lake Forest, Illinois.
Departing from the convention of the bandshell structure and stage most commonly deployed in this setting, Rounds establishes a whimsical and inhabitable performance surface. Through a multiplicity of surface undulation types and sizes, Rounds encourages a multiplicity of the performer to audience relationships, performance types, stage arrangements, and seating options, generating a versatile outdoor venue and a fully encompassing experience.
Small-scale undulations in the ring surface act as a lounge space for viewers during performances, or artists to contemplate their work during non-performance times. Mid-scale undulations in the surface provide entrances to the inner space of the ring, while also providing smaller scale protected stage areas. The largest undulation is designed for the main stage area, a stage that can be broken down into smaller parts and distributed around the ring for several concurrent performances.