The month of November was a race against the calendar and the farmer’s almanac, the 10-day weather forecasts, and the outdoor thermometers—not to mention Thanksgiving! The goal was to stay on schedule and to do all the major digging and concrete pouring before the ground froze and/or the snows fell. (We just barely made it. Thanks, Mother Nature! The first appreciable snowfall was December 1-2!)
It was a very busy month, with much of the work concentrated around the north side of the Venetian Theater and Venetian Circle area. We are happy to spotlight some of the exciting highlights of November’s progress with you here.
Coming Soon! New Venetian Theater Entry Gate and Box Office
Over the years, Caramoor Leadership monitored how audiences moved through the Venetian Circle area by the restrooms and toward the North Entrances. It was apparent to them that foot traffic naturally wanted to enter the Venetian Theater from a certain point — but there were fences and signs and staff blocking the way as this was the loading dock/back-stage area for technical crews and the Artists Patio. (If you are a regular Venetian Theater attendee, this area would have been fenced in to the right of the stage.)
By Opening Night of 2020, this will be a newly designed area which we know will enhance your visitor experience. The northern entrances to the Venetian Theater will be highlighted with a prominent Venetian Theater Entrance Gate, expanded pathways, additional seating, lighting, and landscaping, and new Box Office building to replace the seasonal ‘pop-up’ tent and counter. We will share the exact designs of the Gate, Box Office, and more in the spring.
Work over the last few months included removal of foliage and fencing so construction crews could start disassembling the outdoor backstage area known as the Artists Patio and remove the hardscaping. As of November, the site was a large excavated hole being prepared for the concrete footings for the future Box Office. As with any construction project, discoveries underground meant problem-solving above, but work benefitted from the mild(ish) temperatures and is moving forward one bucketful at a time.
Shifting the Artists Patio: Stage Left to Stage Right
Our Artists Patio is a unique backstage feature of our open-air Venetian Theater. It is often the first place our outstanding artists see when they get to Caramoor and it makes a lasting impact on them. As the Venetian Theater ‘house’ has evolved over the years, so has the backstage experience and the amenities that artists should expect at a world-class venue. The campus-wide improvements being undertaken as part of the Inspire campaign provided an important opportunity to relocate and redesign the Artists Patio with their comfort in mind.
By moving the backstage entrance and the Artists Patio access to the other side of the Venetian Theater and away from the busyness of the Venetian Circle, our artists can enjoy this private area set a little more into our peaceful woodland gardens. The Patio, with its dining tables and landscaped terrace, is a respite from our artists’ busy performance schedulea place where they can relax under the canopies, enjoy the summer weather, have a freshly cooked meal, a beer or a glass of wine, and/or a conversation with their ensemble-mates or Caramoor staff.
While this shift was made so that we could reconfigure the way that the majority of the public will use the north entrances of the Venetian Theater, this has an added benefit for our technical crews. By using a far less busy south-western entrance of the Theater, where we will also have a loading dock and a small parking area, this should make the load-in and load-outs of large instruments and lighting and sound equipment much easier.
The Artists Patio will continue to be screened off by fencing and landscaping to help in blend into the surroundings. The public will see signs which will demark loading and private access areas. New pathways and lighting will also help demark public areas from private areas.
In November, contribution work on this area included:
- Setting the retaining walls for the Artists Patio with pre-cast blocks;
- Pouring the concrete slabs for the floor of the Patio;
- Starting the work on the new loading dock;
- Sawing through the existing cinder-block and concrete structure of the Venetian Theater walls to create new entrances; and
- Choosing the fencing for this area – which will be a steel-reinforced vinyl fence resembling a painted wood fence in a neutral matte finish.
Bring up the Lights!
Over the last few months we’ve been talking about all the trenching that has been going on, the laying of conduit and bolsters, and all the miles of wiring that is being snaked through the same. But we’ve just been setting the scene to talk about the installation of new lighting throughout the campus.
November saw the long-awaited delivery and staggered installation of these lighting features. As you enter the Rosen House parking areas and use the pathways to the Rosen House, please note the two types of lighting features being installed, large light poles and bollards.
It was Caramoor’s goal to identify a signature light fixture that would fit within the existing aesthetic of Caramoor and also met the requirement from the Town of Bedford that the fixture is LED, night sky compliant (no up-light), and fit within the character of the Town. An experienced manufacturer in Connecticut created a bespoke design for Caramoor, balancing costs and our design needs while also providing the functionality required. In many respects, this process was similar to what Lucie and Walter Rosen did in contracting with Caldwell and Company to create the lighting fixtures throughout their home and estate.
The smaller simpler bollard lights will be installed along secondary pathways with the goal that they will provide extra illumination while ‘disappearing’ into the landscape.
Peeking in with our Partners
Thanks as always to our construction partners, including project managers Andron Construction Corporation, Pecord Excavating, and Lospoto Landscaping, Inc. who is doing the heavy lifting on pavers and stonewalls. So much actually happened in November, we had to keep peeking at construction schedules to see what it all was. Pecord, in particular, posts lots of photos on Instagram. From setting drainage manholes, to outlining how to install a bio-retention system (?!), to letting the staff crawl all the fun toys for an hour one afternoon, they kept digging and posting away. To ‘get all the dirt,’ check out these photos from their account.
If someone has Inspired you over the years, you could dedicate a tree or bench at Caramoor in their honor. A gift of any amount also helps us with our many capital improvement projects and is a tax-deductible contribution.
In the meantime, we’ll also be keeping you updated via our weekly e-blasts [sign up here!], the “Planning your Visit” emails, and through our various social media channels [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram].
We know we’ve said it before, but Thank You for your patience and for paying attention to our important construction-related messaging. We want you to enjoy your visit, but also be safe during this transformative time. Please continue to visit our website for the most up-to-date information about the construction and any possible impact to the public.