Yesterday, the Ragdale artist residency, in Lake Forest, Ill., revealed the structure, which is still being built, for this year’s annual Ragdale Ring competition. The large-scale, temporary installation, “Rounds,” created by Syracuse, N.Y., design collaborative Sports, which includes architects Molly Hunker and Greg Corso, is the fourth project to create a space reminiscent of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s original Ragdale Ring garden, built in 1912. The selection was announced back in late March.
Intended to serve as a performance venue, the white, circular structure is an undulating band with varying heights of waves. Each ripple serves a different purpose and a different way for artists and attendees to interact with the project, be it for seating, entering the open space, or serving as the primary performing area. The performance area can also be broken down into smaller parts and allocated to execute multiple, simultaneous acts within the area.
To build it, the design team was awarded the Adrian Smith Prize for the 2016 Ragdale Ring, which includes a $15,000 production grant and a 10-person, design/build residency that runs for three weeks. The team completed the structure over the weekend of June 10.
The annual summer artists colony, which takes place on Shaw's 50-acre, country estate, hosts more than 150 artists and writers every year. The project follows Shaw’s original intention for the space, which was an open-air theater to perform works by his wife, playwright Frances Shaw.
Chicago firm Design With Company, led by Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer, designed last year's performance venue, "Shaw Town."