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Amherst Bandshell Competition

Amherst, MA

2018 - 2021


Winner: Amherst Downtown BID (Business Improvement District) Band Shell Design Competition 

Project Team: 

Naomi Darling - Principal 

Ray K Mann - Principal  (RK Studios)

Maya Gamble

Sanjay Arwade - Consulting Engineer


This bandshell proposal is for a community that both cherishes its past but has always looked forward to the new.  Its acoustically and structurally logical shell focuses and modulates music, song and speech in an elegant, garden-like setting.


Origami-folded structures – the back-and-forth pleating of a flat plane—yield excellent acoustical characteristics.  Our bandshell takes shape as if from a single folded sheet of paper.  Constructed out of engineered timber the warm-toned tightly slatted surface merges seamlessly with mast-like struts that cantilever the shell from the rear, leaving the gently-curved stage of dark grey Ashfield stone open and unobstructed. 


Ambient LED up-lighting is embedded in the stage and garden areas, while stage lighting, sound and security are integrated into the bandshell structure along with rooftop PV. Columns are supported economically with precast concrete bases anchored by helical piles.


The shell’s geometry furthermore funnels precipitation into a rainwater garden that becomes a backdrop to the stage.  Proposed walkways reflect the spirit of the original Olmstead plan while also providing a paved transition from the street and accessible routes to the stage. Grassy areas are otherwise maximized to retain the informal charm of the common. 

We have chosen to put the bandshell just north of the power box locating it on a pad in the proposed gravel rainwater garden.  The garden will camouflage the power box while also allowing ready access for both performances and other activities on the green. 

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