The idea that Nathan Phillips Square has always served as an agora—a gathering place of public and political exchange—since its 1965 opening, has been embraced as a core principal in the $51 million revitalization of the site. Much care has been taken by Perkins+Will and Plant Architect Inc. to respect Viljo Revell’s iconic modernist design, while adding some much needed improvements to the almost half century old facility. One such improvement is the new permanent stage situated on the west side of the square.
With its fritted glass roof resting on angled steel frames, the new stage pays homage to its contemporary surroundings, fitting in beautifully while forever eliminating the need for messy, temporary stages. Its ceiling is fitted with steel bracing system capable of holding anything from AV equipment for musical performances to four 10,000 pound elephants (not going to happen!).
Every stage must also have a backstage, and this one is no exception. The backstage in this case is actually sub-stage. Dressing rooms, AV areas and a green room have all been built underneath the stage, saving valuable space up top while minimizing the stage's impact on its surroundings. Considering that Nathan Phillips Square does not host daily performances, the stage has been designed to double as a broad set of stairs, leading to the elevated walkway which surrounds the square.
The new stage will see its first use during the 2013 New Year’s celebration. Meanwhile, remaining elements of the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Project such as the Peace Garden are expected to be completed in 2013 and 2014.
For additional information regarding the revitalization, check out the related UT dataBase entry which appears below. To join in the discussion on the project, visit our associated forum thread, here.