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Pandemic Produces Surge of Outdoor Venues


By Dave Lubach Facilities Management
outdoor venue

One of the offshoots of the pandemic was increased interest in outdoor events. Facilities like golf courses experienced rising participation numbers during the last two years, as people looked to get out of buildings and spread out with respect to social distancing. 

The desire to be outdoors also extended to the arts. Performing arts outdoors events are now taking place at Lincoln Center and the World Trade Center in New York City and at Fountain Theatre in Hollywood, California. 

It’s the start of a trend, says one expert. 

“This is a national trend that is picking up momentum, as performance groups reflect their audiences’ preference for open-space offerings,” says Carmi Bee, a design principal with RKTB Architects and a specialist in performance space design for more than four decades who designed an outdoor stage for the Truro Center for the Arts in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Sam’s Stage at the Truro Center is an example of the kinds of outdoor designs currently being constructed. The stage includes simple timber construction with integrated infrastructure for lighting and amplification as well as an acoustically supportive roof.  

Outdoor venues provide artistic institutions with other options for presentations. 

“Availability of outdoor venues helps arts organizations plan for an uncertain future and stay flexible,” Bee says. “It allows them to schedule shows indoors or outdoors, based on need or on appropriateness for the particular audience or performance.” 

Building owners looking to expand their outdoor offerings should emphasize cost-control when designing their structures. 

“Planning for future growth and adaptability for varied performance types helps boost the investment value for organizations, universities and municipalities working within limited budgets,” Bee says. 

Dave Lubach is managing editor, facility group. 

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