Ragdale, a non-profit artist retreat located on architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s country estate in Lake Forest, is one of the largest interdisciplinary artist residencies in the country, hosting over 150 writers and artists each year.
In 2013 Ragdale launched an international competition to reinterpret Shaw’s Ring as a temporary, experimental environment. The annual competition provides artists, architects, and designers with the unique opportunity to devise and construct a performance venue and gathering place on the historic Ragdale campus. Howard Van Doren Shaw designed the original Ragdale Ring in 1912 as an open-air theater for the work of his playwright wife, Frances Shaw.
This year, a jury of architects and artists selected “Rounds,” designed by SPORTS architects and Syracuse Architecture assistant professors Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, as the winner for this performance season. “Rounds” is a tribute to Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1912 Ragdale Ring that re-envisions it as a whimsical and inhabitable performance space. It has a ribbon-like surface that undulates along the landscape at several heights to form the architectural theater venue, offering performers and audiences a variety of ways to engage with one another in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to build our project at Ragdale, and share the experience with some of our students,” said Corso and Hunker. “This is an exciting moment in our careers, and we couldn’t imagine a better environment in which to work or community to collaborate with. We’re looking forward to seeing it in action!”
Corso and Hunker were awarded the Adrian Smith Prize for the 2016 Ragdale Ring which includes a $15,000 production grant and a ten-person, design-build residency for up to three weeks at Ragdale. Construction on the temporary structure began May 23, with the public unveiling scheduled for June 9, featuring a garden party and open-air performance with musicians and actors in the Ring. An open studio to meet the architects and see the Ring as it rises will take place on June 5.
Greg Corso and Molly Hunker founded their design collaborative SPORTS in 2010 to explore the border between the everyday experience and the extraordinary and unexpected. Their primary consideration is how ideas of material, craft, and cultural tradition can both complement and provoke contemporary notions of aesthetics and atmosphere that deeply engage users.
The Adrian Smith Prize for the 2016 Ragdale Ring is sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a world-renowned firm headquartered in Chicago which is dedicated to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale.
For more information about the Ragdale Foundation, visit www.ragdale.org
Sunday, June 5 at 3pm
Architects’ Open Studio
An opportunity for architects and those interested in architecture and design to see the Ragdale Ring while it is still under construction and meet architects Adrian Smith, Molly Hunker & Greg Corso. Guests will witness the final stages of their 18-day residency dedicated to building the avant-garde outdoor theater, “Rounds.” Each will talk about their practice, their design interests and inspirations. Free event. Refreshments served. RSVP at 847.234.1063 or email@example.com
Thursday, June 9 at 7pm
Ragdale Ring Performance: Tales for a Summer Night
A gathering of storytellers, poets and musicians with and without disabilities for an evening that’s summer-ripe with laughter, thoughtfulness and music. Curated by solo performer Tekki Lomnicki, Artistic Director of Tellin’ Tales Theatre.Guests are encouraged to bring their family, a lawn chair or picnic to enjoy an arts-filled evening outdoors at twilight. Admission is $20/person; $15/students and seniors, 12 and under free. Tickets are available online and also at the door.
12.09.16 Chicago Tribune by Blair Kamin
“Celebrating a rousing year, from public spaces to preservation”