By: Kalen McNamara, Assoc. AIA
From the Jury:
There’s something interesting about not just looking at the usual space, but really trying to look at this other “in between” span and making it into a place, as opposed to leaving it to chance. To that point, the design is always in between two things: abstract and breathable, light and heavy, inside and outside. It fits the topic of being in the middle of destinations.
As a series of waypoints for touring musicians traveling between major music cities across the United States, this project links disparate sites into a cultural infrastructure. Sited in the no-man’s-land between the interstate highway and adjacent small towns, it creates a neutral field for interaction between road-tripping urbanites and rural residents.
Within the compound, an icehouse acts as a more fixed programmatic element to draw visitors from the nearby town, while lodging areas provide shelter to musicians who are just passing through. An outdoor performance space brings the two programs together, configured flexibly to host small shows as well as large festivals. The compound is anchored by a massive roof structure that gives visibility from the highway and projects an ambiguous monumentality with implicit vernacular resonances.
The architecture is expressed in a language that is neither urban nor rural, suspended between the purity of abstraction and the grit of reality. Separating the monumental, permanent frame from the smaller, more provisional outbuildings allows the project to establish a strong sense of place and purpose linked with the other waypoints along the network, while also nimbly adapting its program to its immediate surroundings.