Sculpted to match the gentle slopes of a bordering wetlands preserve, the canopy of the new Arrendale Amphitheater at Piedmont College cuts a striking profile against the wilderness directly behind it. Considered the pièce de résistance of the college’s master plan for the arts, the new amphitheater was designed by Armentrout Roebuck Matheny Consulting Group of Athens, GA, and is clad on its underside with Reynobond® ACM from Alcoa Architectural Products.
Located on Piedmont's Demorest, GA campus, the amphitheater seats 500 but features enough overflow grass seating to enable it to accommodate everything from school performances to larger-scale commercial productions. The venue's construction was completed in October 2009.
The design team worked closely with the college theater department to coordinate and implement adequate theatrical lighting and controls, audio infrastructure and electrical supply. “The actual design of the canopy was shaped in large part to provide the proper acoustics and sight lines for the sloped seating areas, as well as solar modeled to optimize the shading during the warmer summer months,” said architect James Blythe, AIA, LEED® AP of Armentrout Roebuck Matheny Consulting Group.
“Reynobond ACM was our first choice for the skin of the canopy for several reasons,” continued Blythe. “We needed a material that would hold up well over time, with little to no maintenance or refinishing; that is lightweight with excellent dimensional stability so we could make the supporting structure as efficient as possible; and that could be shaped and cut to create the aesthetic our design team envisioned from the concept stages of the project. We felt that a traditional material wouldn’t do the canopy’s faceted shape the proper justice it deserved, or that it would keep its shape and appearance over time. Given the great deal of finish and color options that are standard for ACM, it made sense from multiple angles.” Kistler McDougall Corp. of Woodstock, GA, fabricated and installed 5,000 square feet of Reynobond ACM, 4 mm, PE core, Platinum Colorweld® 300XL finish in a 2 1/4” wet-seal system.
“The faceted geometry of the canopy made it very difficult to field measure this project. Each panel had to be cut to size in order to get the facets of each geometric shape just right,” said Herman Kistler of Kistler McDougall. “Since no two panels were alike, we used a Leica high-definition scanner to measure the canopy.” Scroggs and Grizzel Contracting, Inc., of Gainesville, GA, served as the general contractor for the project.
Originally part of the college’s master plan for a complex for the arts, the project was delayed by budget cuts. The delay proved beneficial when a private benefactor stepped in to revive the project. Gus Arrendale, the chairman of the board of trustees and president of Fieldale Farms Corp., not only provided the funding but also expanded the scope of the project to ensure that a very high-quality venue was created. Using the natural slope of the land to their advantage, the designers incorporated a multifunctional room to house lighting and electrical controls directly under the stage, while preserving sight lines to the wetlands beyond.
“We couldn’t be happier with the results of this project,” concluded Blythe. “In fact, after working with it on this project, we found that Reynobond ACM is much easier to design with than we previously envisioned and anticipate using it in future work. The client and donors are also very pleased with the outcome, and look forward to the low maintenance and clean look for years to come.”
Alcoa Architectural Products offers a complete range of exterior and interior cladding and corporate identity solutions. Architects and specifiers find greater control over the finished appearance of their projects when working with the Alcoa family of products, which includes the brand’s new Colorweld® 500 finish with the industry’s first 30-year warranty, and innovative materials such as Anodized Reynobond ACM, Reynobond Woodgrain ACM and Reynbond with KEVLAR® in addition to classic Reynobond ACM, Reynobond Natural Metals, Reynolux® profiled panels, and flat sheet. Alcoa Architectural Products is a business unit of Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of aluminum products.