I was asked to prepare a design for the renovation of the 6,000 seat Chastain Amphitheater just prior to Thanksgiving, and then charged with completing construction documents ready for permitting within three weeks. Permitting was expedited though the City of Atlanta, which allowed the selected contractor, Hogan Construction, to begin work on a fast-track schedule the first of January with a completion date of the following April.
The program given by the two vendors, Clear Channel (now Live Nation) and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who operated the venue, and the City of Atlanta Parks Department included new box offices, two new concession stands, new concession plaza and the requirement to increase the size of the public women’s restrooms. Spaces for use by the stage crew and performers were also wanted, which included a green room, commissary, gourmet kitchen and a business office.
The roof of the existing stage house, a translucent vinyl roof, had deteriorated and was replaced with a white Teflon membrane roof. All of the existing metal seats and railings were also refinished. Two new video projection screens were placed within the existing towers, which flank the stage; and the City of Atlanta Parks Department installed below the video screens a new sound amplification system. Regrettably, proposals for an awning canopy over the sound system to echo the geometry, color and material of the stage roof were not accepted by the city.
Originally the amphitheater was built as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project in the 1930s. The design character of the CCC era buildings was maintained and repeated as part of the new design scheme. The existing perimeter fence was rebuilt to place the surrounding heritage magnolia trees to be within the fenced enclosure, as an identified past problem was that people would climb into the trees to sneak free views of performances. New entry gates were designed, with twin granite piers capped by a cypress roof trellis structure.
A Teflon membrane roof was proposed over each of the wood trellis entry structures to repeat the roof glow of the stage at each entrance, however it was not realized as it was deemed too expensive. Metal down lights illuminate the entrances as well as recessed lights in each of the twin entry granite pier’s which project ground level lighting onto the immediate sidewalks at each entrance, adding to the safety of patrons as they enter and leave the venue.
Senior Design Architect for TVS.