Bittertang Farms sculpts hay into a North Shore theater for 102nd Ragdale Ring competition

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (The Bittertang Farm)

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

Studio Gang’s treehouse revamp of Writers Theatre isn’t the only North Shore performance space to dance with organic forms. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 to install a temporary stage for performances in Lake Forest, where renderings show sculpted piles of hay and wavy architectural forms that “melt into the existing landscape.”

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (The Bittertang Farm)

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

Their design will be the 102nd iteration of the Ragdale Ring, a competition that invites architects, designers, and artists to cook up ideas for a temporary outdoor theater space on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. The nonprofit Ragdale Foundation has supported artist residencies and exhibitions since its founding in 1897 on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s summer home in Lake Forest, Illinois, 30 miles north of Chicago (1230 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Illinois).

“At Ragdale we are creating a new ground—one that brings together different architectural forms, including grottoes, gardens, mounds and hay piles to create a structure that can be performed ‘on’ as well as ‘under,’” said Loverich and Torres in a statement.

Construction on the temporary structure will begin this month, with the public unveiling scheduled for June 14. The debut will be a benefit show featuring a “masked garden party” and performances by musicians and actors inside the Ring.

“The Ring will serve as a gathering place, enlivening the historic campus of Ragdale as a place of dynamic artistic and architectural experimentation,” said Zurich Esposito, executive vice president of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), juror, and a member of Ragdale’s board of directors. “And, when the season concludes, the Ring is ultimately biodegradable.” The design appears as a larger version of an installation the firm built on New York City’s Governors Island in 2011.

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

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