The final iteration of the Port Huron Amphitheater that I have design all semester for my graduate studio has come after a long twelve weeks of deliberation over what kind of amphitheater would best suit the waterfront of Port Huron. What I have decided on is a public space that is open around the clock for the citizens to inhabit at their own leisure. This public plaza, or, zocalo for the Mexicans, or, piazza for the Italians, acts as such, this is a new urban space that is primarily for the city dwellers to use as their own central meeting space. The design allows for a variety of public uses, including a farmers market, boat watching terrace and a maritime exhibit space.
What is achieved by this plaza is a new public space that establishes a new identity for the City of Port Huron. While there are material and tectonic features of this new space that hearken to the industrial port-town past, the space that is developed with a variety of textures and level changes expresses the goals and needs of the modern, maritime present and future identity of this city.
By exploring various topographic changes, I was able to build up a series of terraces that can be used for seating, or play space, with the opportunity to view the intersection of the Black and St. Clair Rivers.
At the core of the plaza is an linear pathway that draws pedestrians in from Water Street and envelopes them in a dynamic environment where the user can visit a farmers market, see the riverfront, eat lunch or visit the maritime museum building. Capping the maritime museum is a cantilevered bridge that extends out over the mouth of the Black River which can be used as an elevated viewing deck or the announcers stand to do the roll call for the many sailboats that participate in the annual Port Huron to Mackinac boat race.
After a great deal of design iterations and discussions with the client for the semester project, I have received lots of great feedback regarding the design and its potential for the currently barren site. It would be fantastic to see some ideas from this design make it into reality at this very rich and dynamic site.