Construction on planned renovations is now underway at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
Funded by donors to the park, the renovation project primarily involves replacing temporary tents that covered the Associates and Terrace decks, OVATIONS restaurant, and private Encore Circle Lounge at the Filene Center with permanent pavilions.
While they will retain the open-air feeling that has become so iconic to Wolf Trap, the new wooden pavilions will have better protection from the elements, Wolf Trap Director of Communications Erick Hoffman says.
Constructed out of Douglas fir, the new structures were designed by the architecture firm Gensler to match the style of the Filene Center, a 7,000-seat outdoor ampitheater that hosts the park’s main summer programming.
Hoffman notes that, compared to the existing vinyl and aluminum tents, the wooden pavilions will be more compatible with the surrounding natural environment. They will also allow for more year-round use by patrons, whereas the tents could only be used on a seasonal basis.
“The new Pavilions will allow for greater use throughout the year in a more inviting and appropriate design environment,” Hoffman said. “Users of the deck will have enhanced protection from the elements and enjoy an architectural vocabulary befitting the unique character of America’s only National Park for the Performing Arts.”
Recently, programs at Wolf Trap have been online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has not affected the renovation timeline, according to Hoffman, who says the $3.5 million project is on track to be completed by late spring.
While construction will not interfere with any performances once in-person events are allowed again, Wolf Trap has closed some parts of the park to visitors, including all decks, Barn Road, and select parking areas. The closures took effect on Dec. 14 and will remain in place until further notice.
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced on Dec. 8 that it will not hold spring performances at The Barns this year “due to continued concerns stemming from the pandemic and subsequent guidance from state and local officials.”
“The Foundation is enormously thankful for the continued generosity and support of its donors, patrons, and community as we navigate these challenging times,” Wolf Trap said in a press release. “When it is safe to do so, we look forward to gathering in person again in celebration of the performing arts.”
While it will likely look different from past seasons, hope that there will be live summer performances remains, especially since this year marks the Filene Center’s 50th anniversary.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday that, starting Monday (Mar. 1), outdoor entertainment venues will be permitted to operate at 30% capacity or with up to 1,000 individuals, whichever is lower. The cap on the number of attendees could be lifted in April if COVID-19 cases in the state continue to decline.