Architecture Professors Win Ragdale Ring Competition with ‘Rounds’ Design
Syracuse Architecture assistant professors and architects Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, principals of the design collaborative SPORTS, recently won the fourth annual Ragdale Ring competition for their ribbon-like “Rounds” design, as well as a three-week residency at the creative community in Lake Forest, Ill.
Ragdale, a nonprofit 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. Shaw designed the original Ragdale Ring in 1912 as an open-air theater for the work of his playwright wife, Frances.
This year, a jury of architects and artists selected “Rounds,” designed by Corso and Hunker, as the winner for this performance season. “Rounds” is a tribute to 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,” say 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 10-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 rose took place on June 5.
Corso and Hunker founded 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 that is dedicated to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale.