Steel Bandshell in Sandpoint

A steel bandshell designed by Hendricks Architecture was recently completed in Sandpoint’s Farmin Park.  Sandpoint Rotary asked us to work with Parks and Recreation director Kim Woodruff to design a replacement option for the park’s bandstand roof.

The tasks we were given were to fit the structure within an existing circular brick base, keep the performers dry, be durable, low maintenance, and fit architecturally and aesthetically into a park in the heart of downtown.  We were also challenged to make the structure a unique and a one-of-a-kind piece of art.  In addition, we wanted to make sure it was acoustically viable for the musicians, despite the steel structure.

Steel bandshell Hendricks architects Sandpoint Idaho

Steel bandshell in Sandpoint Idaho’s Farmin Park

In an initial brainstorming meeting with Kim and structural engineer Carlos Suarez, we talked about the possibility of using steel instead of wood for its longevity and low cost maintenance factor.  Kim suggested I meet with talented local steel artist Tom Brunner onsite to put our heads together.  I met with Tom the next day, our ideas clicked and within about 15 minutes we had the basis for the design.  I threw some quick sketches together (one shown below) and the next day we (Kim, Carlos, Tom and I) were all in agreement on the conceptual design.  The following day Tom threw together a small scale steel model, which became effective later on in getting approvals from various City committees.  The next steps were to secure funding, and end up with stamped construction documents to assure public safety.

Steel bandshell Hendricks Architect Sandpoint Idaho

Front view of the bandshell in Sandpoint, built over an existing brick bandstand

The design is based off the existing curved bandstand, from the columns to the beams, to the purlins and other support elements.  We wanted it to be more organic than to just add a linear roof over it.  Carlos was given the tough task of trying to make the shell stand upright through the toughest snow and wind storms.  Carlos ended up donating about 80-90% of his time.  It ended up being a very time consuming project, but I think for both of us it was a fun puzzle to solve.  Tom Russell of Hendricks Architecture served as the project architect and was able to make all the pieces come together, including a 3D rendering which helped gain approvals.

Steel Bandshell Hendricks Architecture Sandpoint Idaho

Side view of the Farmin Park bandshell in Sandpoint

The purlins (the steel running right to left under the roofing – some nearly reaching fifty feet) were also designed to be curved, but in the end, we decided to make them straight.  This was a painful compromise, but to curve each of them would have increased the price significantly, not just from curving the steel, but mainly because the roofing would have had to be intricately cut and laid over some very complex curves that bend in more than one direction.  This would have become very time consuming to build, so the purlins are straight, but are laid out in six segments each so they at least hint of a curve.  The structure is all steel, while the roof is corten steel.  Eventually the entire structure will have a nice rust patina.  The bandshell shouldn’t need any major maintenance, and should outlive all of us.

Bandshell architect sketch

John’s original sketch of the side elevation

One of my biggest concerns was the acoustics.  Exposed steel is not a material typically used in theaters or other music venues, as sound tends to reverberate off steel.  We certainly didn’t want to amplify the sound too much and to the detriment of local businesses and neighborhoods.  The existing base had curved walls which angled out towards the park’s music audience, so we emulated that in the roof structure.  We angled the roof up, as well as limited steel in the sound path to allow music to escape easier.  Still, I was a little nervous as the construction was pretty loud at the points when they had to put hammer on steel.  I was relieved to actually hear the musicians play and find it sounded pretty good.  I’ve heard from a few that the sound is better than it was before, and worst case, the same as before.

All the consulting work Tom Brunner (the steel artist) did initially was at no cost. Tom also designed the artwork in the four structural steel rings, where each symbolizes one of the four seasons.  Most of the team donated a lot of their time and offered reduced rates to get this built.  Sean Fitzpatrick (a fellow Rotarian) acted as the general contractor.  Wayne Bistodeau of Multi-Trail Enterprises, framed the steel structure in his shop, then disassembled it and put it together on site.  Apex Construction, CE Kramer Crane and Contracting, DSS Construction, Glahe and Associates, North County Electric, and Pacific Steel also contributed towards the Rotary project.  Several other Rotarians contributed their time on this, including Presidents Paula Parsons, Jerri Anderson and Bob Linscott, the community service head and a former architect.

Steel Rotary wheel

A steel Rotary wheel was inserted in the main truss.

The bandshell was funded by the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency (SURA) and Rotary.  SURA financially supported the project acknowledging that, though more costly on the front end, the long-term investment was best served with the steel structure.  Sandpoint Rotary requested funding and it was granted in late 2012.

Many thanks as well to Marie Dominique Verdier for her beautiful photography!  See our Facebook page for more photos.

John Hendricks is an AIA architect at Hendricks Architecture.  Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog

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Canadians Discover Sandpoint

This past summer in Sandpoint seemed busier than it has been in several years. It seemed like every time I went downtown or to City Beach there were always a lot of people out enjoying the great summer weather, and my sense is that many of them were visitors from elsewhere. Sandpoint’s population is always boosted in the summer by the many lakefront and vacation home owners that claim this area as their “home away from home”, and tourism has been steadily increasing in response to all the good press the area has been getting.

Sandpoint Evening

Sandpoint Evening (Canadian Selkirk Mountains in Far Right Background)

Recent examples in a long list of “best of” awards are Sandpoint’s designation as the “Most beautiful small town in America” and Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s selection as Ski Magazine editor’s pick as the “Best Kept Secret”. Sandpoint’s charm has not gone unnoticed, especially among our neighbors to the North. The number of Canadian license plates in town has increased significantly in the last few years, and this trend has been a big benefit to local business owners. Canadians have brought a welcome surge in commerce that has helped many businesses stay afloat in tough economic times.

The Pend Oreille River from Sandpoint's Long Bridge

The Pend Oreille River from Sandpoint’s Long Bridge

Apparently some Canadians have recognized that there is a lot of value in the local real estate market. North Idaho has experienced a surge in vacation home and investment property purchases by Canadian citizens, with some choosing North Idaho as a place to retire. It’s no secret that property values are low almost everywhere in the U.S., and there are great deals out there for anyone with a bit of liquidity and a positive vision of the future. In Sandpoint, we are lucky to be less than an hour from the Canadian border and a short days drive from Calgary and other population centers in Southern Alberta. Oil and gas exploration has really taken off in Southern Alberta, and the economy there is much better off than in most areas of the United States.

Sunrise over Lake Pend Oreille

Sunrise over Lake Pend Oreille (from an Owner’s Lot on Garfield Bay)

Canadians visiting the US also benefit from lower prices on goods and services here, most notably gasoline and building materials. Currency exchange rates are also favorable for Canadians, though they are down a bit from a historic high in March of 2009. I remember only about 10 years ago the situation was opposite, and shopping trips or vacations to Canada were a great way to get a lot for the American dollar. Southern B.C., Alberta, and the National Parks of the Canadian Rockies are still very popular vacation spots for North Idaho residents, and most vacations I hear about involve outdoor enthusiasts enjoying Canada’s natural treasures and great skiing.

In Sandpoint, everyone I know is glad to see that our neighbors to the north are frequenting North Idaho and discovering how much this area has to offer. We are finding that they make great neighbors, clients, and friends. When I visit Canada, I never really feel like I am in a different country, and I suspect Canadians feel the same here. To acknowledge our kinship with Canada, Schweitzer Mountain has adopted Whitewater resort near Nelson, B.C. as its Canadian sister, and is offering Whitewater pass holders free skiing if they stay in any of the resort owned accommodations.

Anyone visiting Sandpoint, Canadian or otherwise, is welcome to stop in and see our portfolio of beautiful mountain homes. We speak fluent Canadian, and would love to talk to you about designing your new mountain home.

Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of timber mountain style homes and cabins.  Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West.  If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.

Tom Russell, Architect LEED AP

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Schweitzer Opens Early

Inland Northwest skiers & snowboarders got an early treat this year when Schweitzer Mountain Resort opened the weekend before Thanksgiving. It is considered to be a good year if they are able to open on Thanksgiving weekend, and that happens roughly 50% of the time. This season was looking kind of weak for early season snow, though it was cold enough that the conditions were good for making snow. Everyone had their fingers crossed, and mother nature delivered some mid November storms that made for excellent early season conditions.

Schweitzer Bowl

Schweitzer Bowl – The front of the mountain

Opening day at Schweitzer was November 19th, and even though the terrain was limited the conditions were great. There was even some fresh snow to get everyone excited! Schweitzer closed again during the week, with a promise to reopen the day after Thanksgiving. The big surprise came a few days before Thanksgiving – a two day storm event that dumped several feet of heavy, wet snow and provided excellent coverage on the entire mountain. A few days later temperatures cooled down, 8” of light snow fell, and the day after Thanksgiving looked like a mid-winter powder day. A lot of the front side was open, conditions were excellent, and everyone was smiling!

From what I have seen on other ski area websites, we have about the best conditions in the country right now. The Lake Tahoe region (Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Heavenly Valley) has very little snow, Alta and Telluride are reporting less than a 30” base, and the central Colorado areas of Vail, Aspen, and Summit County are all hurting for snow. Even further north in Sun Valley and Big Sky, snow depths are thin and the ski resorts are barely open.

Closer to Sandpoint, Whitefish Mountain Resort had to cancel plans to open the first week in December due to lack of snow. 49 Degrees North is open and has almost as much snow as Schweitzer. North of the border, Fernie has a decent amount of snow, as do Red Mountain and Schweitzer’s Canadian sister resort of Whitewater. However, only Fernie is open this early in the season and the terrain is limited.

I have been seeing a lot of Canadian license plates in the parking lot at the ski resort, and also in town. The Canadians I have talked to are coming here from Calgary and other cities in Alberta, as well as from Southern British Columbia. It seems that word is getting out up there that Sandpoint in Northern Idaho is a wonderful place and that the skiing is pretty darn good. It probably doesn’t hurt that property is less expensive here, our taxes are lower, and the exchange rate is favorable too, eh. Whatever the reason, we welcome our visitors from Canada and are glad to be close to Southern B.C. so we can visit there as well.

If you’re looking for some great early season skiing, come to Sandpoint and check out Schweitzer Mountain Resort. The entire front side (see trail maps – Schweitzer Bowl) is open now, including some excellent tree skiing for which Schweitzer is famous. You’ll find out why Schweitzer was the Ski Magazine editors pick for the best kept secret, but you have to promise not to tell anybody! Hope to see you there, and while you’re in Sandpoint stop by and see our portfolio of beautiful Mountain Homes.

This post was written by an author at Hendricks Architecture who wishes to remain anonymous.  We are mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.

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A Whimsical Steel Bandshell for Sandpoint’s Farmin Park

Hendricks Architecture, in cooperation with  Sandpoint Rotary, has designed a whimsical steel bandshell for the Farmin Park bandstand in Sandpoint, Idaho. The Project will be funded by Sandpoint Rotary and the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency.  Rotary members have been donating their time in coordination and fund raising, and will also have a hand in construction.

Farmin Park Bandshell

The Farmin Park Bandshell

The bandshell is designed to emulate other whimsical elements in the park, as well as the existing curved bandstand, and other rustic elements throughout downtown Sandpoint.  A curved steel roof structure will be supported by curved steel columns.  Two circular struts will enclose custom steel Rotary wheel emblems.  All steel will have a pre-rusted “weathered” finish.  The underside of the roof will have matching acoustic insulation to help with sound reverberation. Construction is scheduled for Summer of 2012.

Farmin Park is set in the middle of downtown Sandpoint.  The  Sandpoint Farmer’s Market occurs at the park Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings from May through October.  The bandstand is set at the far point of the park and houses a scheduled musician at every event.

The 3D rendering was provided by Tom Russell, an architect at Hendricks Architecture.  Special thanks also to the Rotary members who have been donating their time on this project, including Project Chairman Bob Linscott, Project Manager Sean Fitzpatrick, Presidents Jerri Anderson & Matt Kerr, Secretary Pierce Smith, Treasurer Sue Poppino,  as well as Kim Woodruff from City Parks and Rec, and Consultants Terry Hecox, Dick Creed, Carlos Suarez and Tom Brunner.

For updated info and photos on the bandshell, see Steel Bandshell in Sandpoint.

John Hendricks is an AIA architect at Hendricks Architecture.  We are a mountain architectural  firm in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog

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