Ragdale Ring 2017


In 2013 Ragdale launched an international competition to reinterpret Shaw’s Ring as a temporary, experimental environment. This annual competition provides artists, architects, and designers with the unique opportunity to devise and construct a performance venue and gathering place on the historic Ragdale campus. Each year we seek inventive, large-scale submissions that explore intersections of architecture, sculpture, landscape, design, public art, and performance disciplines. Howard Van Doren Shaw designed the original Ragdale Ring in 1912 as an open-air theatre for the work of his playwright wife, Frances Shaw.

March 3: Deadline for submissions
March 20: Notification of winning team
April/May: Off-site Production
May 22- June 9: Design/Build residency
June 10: Ragdale Ring complete

Location: Ragdale, 1260 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Production grant: The recipient will receive a $15,000 production grant to fund the project.
Residency: Includes a large studio, room and board for up to 10 individuals for 18 days.

Greg Corso, SPORTS
Zurich Esposito, AIA Chicago
Molly Hunker, SPORTS
Regin Igloria, Ragdale Foundation
Jeffrey Meeuwsen, Ragdale Foundation
Phillip Rosborough, Rosborough Partners, Inc.
Adrian Smith, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Anna Arellanes Wirth, von Weise Associates

The Adrian Smith Prize for the 2017 Ragdale Ring is sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a world-renowned firm headquartered in Chicago which is dedicated to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale. Architect Adrian Smith, is known for many landmark buildings, including the two world’s tallest structures – Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  In addition to supporting the prize, Smith is lending his expertise to the Ragdale Ring design review and selection process.

(Option A:  Gently sloping lawn behind the Ragdale House, adjacent to prairie)
IMG_4143 text Ragdale House exterior textIMG_4136 textIMG_4163 text



(Option B:  Flat lawn conveniently located near the Barnhouse courtyard)
Barnhouse IMG_1009 IMG_1004




About the 1912 Ragdale Ring
Architect Howard Van Doren Shaw designed the original Ragdale Ring as an outdoor theatre to accommodate the plays of his wife, Frances. Audiences of over 200 to 300 guests sat on Shaw-designed benches in a circular orchestra paved with grass and surrounded by a low limestone wall. The raised stage featured wings formed by evergreens and columns topped with baskets of stone fruit. During performances, banners and Japanese lanterns were displayed around the theater. Shaw also crafted a sophisticated lighting system with tiers of floodlights and spotlights as well as many of the theater’s props and costumes.
Pipes of Pan Midsummer Moon Setp. 85 The first program in the theatrep. 91 First Play in Theatre 2



The 2016 Winning Design
A jury of architects and artists selected Rounds, submitted by SPORTS, the design collaboration of architects Greg Corso and Molly Hunker. The design team was awarded the Adrian Smith Prize for the 2016 Ragdale Ring which includes a $15,000 production grant and a ten-person, design-build residency for up to three weeks at Ragdale. Rounds was also recognized with the “2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation” by the Architect’s Newspaper (AN).

“Lead designers Molly Hunker and Greg Corso have a proven history of thoughtful, creative, and successful built projects,” said Jeffrey Meeuwsen, Executive Director of Ragdale. “In addition to being an inventive design, their proposal celebrates and advances the notion of a ring and theatre in the round, offering modularity, adaptability and unique levels of engagement for both performers and audience members.”

Juror and prize sponsor Adrian Smith affirms, “I am proud to support the Ragdale Ring competition which uniquely serves the field of architecture and dynamically engages the public. Rounds is an exceptional design solution and I look forward to its successful construction and use.”

Rounds has a ribbon-like surface that undulates along the landscape at several heights to form the architectural theatre venue, offering performers and audiences a variety of ways to engage with one another in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. Small-scale undulations act as lounge spaces both during performances and outside of performance times. Mid-scale undulations provide entrances to the inner space of the ring while also providing smaller scale protected stage areas. The largest undulation is designed for the main stage area, a stage that can be broken down into smaller parts and distributed around the ring for several concurrent performances. The 2016 Ring complements the existing landscape and can be experienced by visitors on special occasions as well as by artists in the residency program as they nurture their creative efforts.

SPORTS is the design collaboration of Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, founded in 2010 that explores the border between the everyday experience and the extraordinary or unexpected. Their primary consideration is how ideas of material, craft, and cultural tradition can both complement and provoke contemporary notions of aesthetics and atmosphere that deeply engage users. sportscollaborative.com



Download the RFP:
2017 Ragdale Ring RFP

2016 Ragdale Ring

2015 Ragdale Ring
Design With Company

2014 Ragdale Ring
The Bittertang Farm

2013 Ragdale Ring
Stephen Dietrich Lee