BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER
Cuyahoga Falls, OH (2001–2003)
Prior to MVVA’s involvement, the existing landscape areas adjacent to the Blossom Music Center’s performance pavilion had been severely impacted by many years of operation-based additions. One of the primary goals established in the new design was to reclaim the original simplicity of the enigmatic pavilion, which is nestled within a lawn bowl and set deep in a wooded clearing, by mitigating the landscape impacts of the increasingly large events. At the opening of the 2003 season, visitors were greeted by the addition of 1000 trees, 7000 shrubs, 60,000 groundcover plugs, 15 acres of meadow, a new demonstration garden, a new VIP pavilion, two new event spaces, and ADA-compliant network of paths.
The paths and complimentary landforms are configured in such a way as to reduce the amount of visible paved surfaces from the pavilion seating areas, in order to emphasize the impression that performances take place in a forest. The central aesthetic challenge, however, emerged from the facility’s need to accommodate the equipment and activities associated with both rock and classical concerts. This conflict motivated a set of design inventions for how to make the operations and structures required of one concert-type “disappear” during the other type of performance. All site features were designed to be flexibly utilized for this purpose and when possible site elements were combined to simplify their visual presence. Also, the approximately 12,000 cubic yards of manufactured soils used were designed with a high-sand content to defend against root compaction, to allow them to withstand an occasional trampling under the feet of a concert crowd.