S M A Stephen Moser Architects

SummerStage —

Central Park
New York, NY

The London plane tree, with its graceful shape and mottled bark, is the inspiration for SMA’s plan to redesign and refurbish SummerStage's outdoor venue in Central Park. The City Parks Foundation requested the plan in anticipation of the annual music festival's thirtieth anniversary in summer 2015. The venue, nestled among majestic plane trees, is located on a playfield near the southern end of the park.

A system of deployable scrims, patterned after the tree's multi-toned bark, provide a practical way to screen ad hoc structures, such as office trailers, shipping containers, and portable toilets, while defining the venue's large perimeter and bringing visual coherence. With their light-dappled, camouflaged pattern, the scrims also enhance the magic of the spectator experience by mirroring the sunlight on the trees and reflecting their illumination at night. A new roof is supported by flute-like structures that are in dialogue with the plane tree. The roof itself is transparent, illuminated from the interior, its oval shape inspired by the tree's broad leaf.


City Parks Foundation

Project Size

2 acres

SMA Team

Stephen Moser, principal
Giles Holt, Nicole Anderson
Guido Garfunkel, 3d visualization

Consulting Engineer

Arup: Brian Markham, Tateo Nakajimi, Edward Arenius