The outdoor amphitheater at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is an underutilized campus resource. The facility cannot be used on rainy days, and the large expanse of dark brick and granite paving often overheats on sunny days. Summer Consultants led a multi-discipline team to study and develop an RFP for a new canopy over the amphitheater in order to expand the university’s opportunities for use of the facility.

The design team surveyed the site to identify the existing conditions which could affect canopy design. Multiple options were developed to provide maximum shading while also maintaining sight lines and integrating with the existing site. Selected as the preferred concept, the “Knot” design is a tensile canopy which provides extensive canopy coverage and complements the plaza with a sculptural quality with or without the fabric covering.  The canopy will also be lighted for use at night.

Additional project features include a new accessible ramp with lighted handrails to connect the upper plaza level with the lower level presentation area. Rainwater collected on the canopy will be directed into adjacent planter basins.