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  Chris Wilson PavilionChris Wilson Pavilion


James Childs Architects
929 Lincolnway East, #200, South Bend, IN 46601

General Description

Location: Potawatomi Park, South Bend, Indiana
Date Bid: Apr 2009 Construction Period: May 2009 to Sep 2009
Total Square Feet: 2,860 Site: 1.5 acres. Number of Buildings: One
Building Size: First floor, 2,860; total, 2,860 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 15 to 33’; total, 15 to 33’.
Basic Construction Type: New/Load bearing brick masonry.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: Brick, CMU. Roof: Metal. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU.

Construction Team

General Contractor: The Robert Henry Corporation - 404 South Frances Street, South Bend, IN 46617
Acoustical Consultant: Yerges Acoustics - 3125 Whispering Oaks, Woodridge, IL 60517
Landscape Architect: Foegley Landscaping - 52215 Lilac Road, South Bend, IN 46628

Potawatomi Park, in the center of South Bend, Indiana, is the most visited park in the city. The park boasts a large number of amenities, including a full zoo, tennis courts, a historic Conservatory, picnic pavilions, an accessible playground, walking paths, and large groves of oak trees. The park also has a long history of providing free concerts in the summer at the park’s bandshell.

A partnership was formed, which included the Rotary Club of South Bend, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the family of Christopher H. Wilson. In a true collaborative effort, this partnership worked to envision and construct a new band shell facility to replace the existing outdated facility and transform the band shell into a modern, multi-faceted performing arts venue.

Many of the main charges of the design included correcting deficiencies of the soon-to-be-demolished outdated facility. The site design carefully minimized the number of mature hardwood trees which were displaced by the new structure. The new bandshell faces north, such that the sun would not blind performers on the stage on summer evenings. James Childs Architects collaborated with consulting engineer Yerges Acoustics to create a building geometry designed to naturally amplify the performances staged in this bandshell. The bandshell is acoustically well-balanced, has an accessible stage, provides dressing rooms, and is able to be used as a performance venue for musical groups, dancing, or theater. The stage is sized to accommodate a 50-piece orchestra. Many design and electrical features were built in to allow for full staging of audio and lighting equipment to be provided by outside vendors.

Another driving design factor was to have the new bandshell reference and reflect the historic architecture of the other park buildings, especially a nearby historic picnic pavilion, which was built with brick piers, limestone details, and a red clay tile roof. The Chris Wilson Pavilion was constructed with load-bearing brick masonry, utilizing an oversized brick scored vertically, and then grouted to appear as standard sized brick. Careful architectural details were formed from fibercement trim and cast stone. The large span of the stage roof is accomplished with the use of large glue laminated timber beams. The stage ceiling is lowered, and designed to provide optimal acoustics, as well as endure exterior weather conditions. Metal roof panels, fastened to withstand high wind speeds and designed to appear as red clay mission tile, were chosen to mimic the appearance of the historic clay tile roof, while allowing for lower costs for materials as well as lowering any added weight to the building structure.

Now completed, the bandshell serves as a world-class performing arts venue for a popular outdoor summer concert series and more and has been extremely well-received by the community.

Product Information
Interstate Metal Roof: Met-Tile Lighting: Gotham, Progress

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