MUSAS Amphitheater

The addition of an amphitheater and a library to Sonoran Museum of Art was an opportunity to reconsider the role the performance space in the 21st century. An exhaustive research was carried out into the development of the theater since classical Greece. The main pattern identified was the singular hierarchy established between the performer, at a point, and spectator as the space around this point, which organizes the entire space.

However, this single fixed hierarchy also makes the performance space inflexible. Contemporary theaters will house a staggering variety of events, including plays, music, dance, projections, and performances that combine elements from all of these. It is a fact that performance art is becoming increasingly detached from traditional hierarchies of performer- spectator and performance spaces require a new degree of flexibility, at times moving away from the single focal point of the performance and incorporating an entire space and the audience.

We set out to find this new configuration of the performance space. We extended a single flat roof comprised of hexagonal modules over the entire site. The roof is a single datum that does not acknowledge any one point below it as its focus. Below it we erect the traditional stepped surface of an amphitheater to allow visibility of the stage but these steps are collapsible to turn a traditional amphitheater into a free topography of gentle inclines. The fixed theatre is no longer present, as performance spaces are created and eliminated as needed in a more active appropriation of the theater.