2012 Design Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Iowa Chapter
In 2007, the City of Keokuk, lead by Mayor David Gudgel, decided to rebuild a performance pavilion where a bandstand formerly stood in Rand Park. Fund-raising efforts began immediately, and OPN Architects was selected to design the amphitheater and surrounding site.
Carved into a hollow in Rand Park, the site held a natural slope that provides desirable audience seating for the pavilion. Culling design reminiscent of ancient Greece theatrons, the amphitheater was designed to host both acoustical and amplified entertainment. For maximum sound projection a convex-shaped acoustical wall was designed at the rear of the pavilion.
Designed to host 1,200 to 1,500 people, the gentle sloping of the site allows audience members to easily move along the grass, or by the pathway. Special consideration was given to the pavilion’s future use hosting various events. The area was designed to be fully handicap accessible, so that the venue may be easily enjoyed by all.
The amphitheater features stone blocks that line the surrounding walkway and footbridge. The Kasota limestone blocks were quarried from Mankato, Minnesota, and were chosen to compliment the statue base of Chief Keokuk. The blocks are architectural features that double as sitting areas during performances. Lighting was specifically designed to enhance as well as to provide light for the pathways and stage area.