For many years, Kalamazoo had hosted outdoor concerts and festivals in the summertime by erecting makeshift temporary stages and tents on a former parking lot in the urban center of town. In collaboration with the landscape architects of O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates, the Arcadia Festival Stage and Pavilion project was part of a total renovation of the location into an urban park that also provides a friendlier, more relaxing, and permanent site for downtown celebrations.
It was clear that creating a permanent performance stage and covered beverage-service pavilion in this very active public location would require designs and materials that would be impervious to vandalism, while still evoking a quality of welcome and fun befitting a festival space. The resulting design concept is one of simple and appealing circular geometry.
The stage is a quarter-sphere shell composed of PVC membrane, painted steel pipes, and exposed concrete aggregate. Use of aged brick establishes a sense of harmonic context between the contemporary structure and older buildings that surround the park. The band shell is trimmed in fiber optic lighting with a changing color pattern, emphasizing the vibrant, active nature of the site. While the stage is designed for durability and simplicity, acoustical properties were carefully incorporated within the materials and geometry of the structure to support the specialized demands of amplified musical performances.
The circular theme and material selections continue with the pavilion. The pavilion is a half-sphere encircled with breezy arched entries tapering down to a circular low brick wall that doubles as seating. The simple but effective design evokes a whimsical attitude that reflects the upbeat atmosphere of a festival site.