Second-year architecture students at the University of Oklahoma Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture recently worked to create ideas for a new canopy in Andrews Park’s amphitheater in Norman, Oklahoma.

The original tensile structure used to cover the stage of the amphitheater collapsed in Summer 2020 after a violent thunderstorm. The goal of the studio project was to design a new “experiential canopy,” both for the stage and the seating areas of the amphitheater.

Students were asked to work in teams to explore multiple overhanging structures thought to celebrate and strengthen the enduring and powerful bonds that have existed through history between performing arts, public spaces, and landscape.

At the beginning of the semester, students visited the site and documented its layout and the programming of the amphitheater through sketching and diagramming. For the second part of the project, students worked in teams to design innovative shading systems for the amphitheater.

The students presented their design proposals via Zoom during second year midterm reviews, where they received feedback from faculty and planners from the City of Norman Parks and Recreation Department.

Second year studio classes are taught by Dave Boeck, Francesco Cianfarani, Joe Dolan, and Ken Marold.

Selected Student Proposals

The collapsed canopy, Summer 2020

Image credits: Left, Right