Selected by the jury for its elegant restraint, a series of interactive beds will be built and exhibited at the Ragdale Ring this summer for their annual artists' residency in Lake Forest, Illinois. Located at the former country estate of early 20th century Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, the contest challenges young architects to reimagine Shaw's original open-air theater that was once the focal point of the property, serving as a stage for the work of his wife, the playwright Frances Shaw.
The unconventional concept will be built by Houston-based architects David Costanza and Piergianna Mazzocca, who beat out a broad field of national and international submissions. Their proposal, entitled Shared Beds, will see three round, wobbling beds acting as a temporary theater to house summer concerts, performances, and events. The largest disc is naturally fitting to serve as the stage, though the overall configuration, which teeters back and forth depending on the movement of the players above, allows for multiple uses and audience placement.
According to Constanza, this year's iteration challenges the role of the individual and the collective, and how these two engage in coordinated play by "reconsidering the seemingly inanimate quality of everyday objects such as beds." The jury agreed on the dynamism of the project, which stood out as one of the most original reinterpretations of the Ragdale Ring garden theater.
One noted that the design solution "prioritizes human interaction and harmony with the site, while melding theatricality, architecture, and objecthood.” Another, shared that project "echoes the 'less is more' mantra of Chicago's modernist architecture ethic." Galo Cañizares Proaño and Stephanie Sang Delgado, who won last year's competition with their architectural playscape Noodle Soup, promised that it will be "unlike anything Ragdale has seen before."
With a $15,000 production grant, the project will be built in late May and be ready for performances starting in mid-June. The two designers will join the ranks of past Ragdale Ring winners, T+E+A+M, SPORTS Collaborative, Design With Company, The Bittertang Farm, and Stephen Dietrich Lee.
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