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Before It Dies, The Play’s The Thing At ‘Living Amphitheater’

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The Buru Buru amphitheater (Creid: Bittertang Farm)

The Buru Buru amphitheater (Creid: Bittertang Farm)

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By Heather Sadusky

CHICAGO (CBS) — Most architects search for sturdy, long-lasting materials when constructing buildings and projects.

The Buru Buru amphitheater, however, was purposely designed to degrade.

Located in the Ragdale artists’ community of Lake Forest, the Buru Buru amphitheater was constructed as a temporary performance space that will slowly be taken back by the earth: it’s made of hay.

These cylinders are typically used for erosion control, but have been made into a useful structure by the “design farm’ Bittertang.

A radial framework supports the draping of the giant straw tubes, forming the arched theater, which can be lit by LED lights for a night-time performance.

The structure is already being reclaimed by nature as grasses and fungi make a home of it.

Seds were sewn inside the straw wattles to encourage growth within the nutrient-rich building material, and flowering vines were strung over the surface. The more nature, the more beautiful.

Construction of the Buru Buru amphitheater (Credit: Bittertang Farm)

Construction of the Buru Buru amphitheater (Credit: Bittertang Farm)

The design team is made of students from the U.S. and Mexico.

They won the second annual competition to creatively interpret the architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s outdoor amphitheater ring.

The site of Ragdale is Shaw’s old summer home, built in 1897. Several events have already taken place in the amphitheater, and the Ragdale Foundation’s website lists more to come.

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