Sun Valley Pavilion

Sun Valley Pavilion

Ruscitto Latham Blanton
Sun Valley, ID, USA | View Map
Project Year
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
ManufacturersSerge LESAGE SAS
Custom Steel StructureJesse
Membrane roofSerge Ferrari
Custom lighting trussesShow Canada
Copper roofingZahner

Product Spec Sheet
Custom Steel Structure
by Jesse
Membrane roof
Custom lighting trusses
Copper roofing
by Zahner

Sun Valley Pavilion

FTL Design Engineering Studio as Consultants

The Seasonal Sun Valley Music pavilion, located on the south western end of the soccer field at the Sun Valley Resort is inspired by its natural setting and is destined to become a community gathering place for performance events.

The sky and mountain are captured by the free flowing roof, comprised of a seasonal luminous tensile membrane covering 1,500 seats and a permanent steel cable net with wood shingled structure providing cover over stage and support facilities.

We understood that the symphony wanted a structure that combined the seasonal and ephemeral qualities of a summer tent, which they had previously rented, with a more permanent facility that could accommodate the theatrical and acoustic requirements in keeping with such an accomplished symphony orchestra. In short, they wanted an outdoor feeling with a state-of-the-art performance facility. We wanted to use the natural acoustics of the hypar form, but to reach the cubic volume of space required, we needed to have two shells: an outer shell that was both structural and acoustical and an inner shell that was only for acoustics and could be tuned like a musical instrument.

As a technological and structural accomplishment, the facility demonstrates how permanent and seasonal structures can be integrated into one cohesive design with an ambiance that is at once an interior space and an outdoor room. To accommodate high snow loads of up to 200 pounds a square foot in areas was enormous and we started thinking of alternative materials. What if we replaced the fabric with a steel cable net and used a rigid material like wood, which can take high vertical loads? In developing this idea, we felt that wood was not only a great acoustic material but that it would also help tie the new structure into the context of the surrounding buildings. First, we used 3” x 6” Douglas-fir sleepers on steel shoes located at the cable net nodes.Because the angle of the wood was relatively flat in some areas and steep in others, we added copper roofing to maintain this differential in slope and to add another earthen touch to the ephemeral cable structure. Upon completion in 2008, the pre-stressed cable net with wood cladding was the first of its kind in North America.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony hosts its season at the facility along with other musical events using the unobstructed sight lines and excellent sound quality. Alasdair Neale, the music director of the Symphony, said, “I marvel at the boldness of the architectural invention, the opulence of the materials, and the sweeping grandeur of the whole thing. I think my friend Vadim Gluzman said it best when he remarked during the rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, “Amazing! I know it’s supposed to be a tent, but this really is a concert hall.”

Material used :

1. Roman travertine cladding – Kepco

2. Copper roofing - Zahner

3. Custom lighting trusses – Show Canada

4. Custom Steel Structure – Jesse Engineering

5. Membrane roof – Serge Ferrari fabric, installed by Birdair Structures

6. Douglas Fir roofing – Intermountain construction

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Project Credits
Landscape Architects
General Contractor - Douglas Fir roofing
Project Architect
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