Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Design Achievement - Situated among nearly 2,000 pristine acres that were once the site of the famed 1969 Woodstock Festival, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts serves as an international cultural destination for the performing arts. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky’s design for the award-winning facility expresses a strong sense of place befitting its iconic location. Designed to attract visitors from around the world, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts creates an environment that continues the original festival’s welcoming quality, celebrating and complementing the iconic rural landscape and corresponding event that gave a generation its name. Stone, cedar, and copper were used throughout and selected because of their indigenous relationship to the area, resulting in a facility that blends both architecture and landscape and pays homage to the spirit of the site. Encompassing 18 structures on a site that incorporates the original 37-acre Yasgur farm, the project includes an outdoor amphitheater, an open-air pavilion, and a museum and event center, as well as support facilities and extensive landscape and site interpretation. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts was ranked #1 in attendance in New York State by Pollstar Magazine in its list of the Top 100 Worldwide Amphitheaters. Between 2006 and 2016, nearly 2 million people have visited the Center, boosting the state and regional economies.

Scope Summary - Encompassing 127,000 SF of buildings, the project scope included the 4,800-seat main pavilion and the 18,000 SF museum / events center with gift shop, classrooms, research library and offices. Before initiating its design, DLR Group|WRL undertook master planning of the site, including coordination of complex issues such as crowd behavior/flow analysis, site lines, and campus-wide accessibility requirements. The firm then developed specific, sustainable engineering strategies to address the lack of infrastructure on the site, making use of geothermal systems in the museum / event center and addressing storm water management to reduce runoff. Designs also reduced heat islands on non-roof areas, minimized paved parking areas and provide shaded walkways. All of the stone for the project was extracted from quarries within view of the site and installed by local craftspeople; likewise, the laminated wood was fabricated in close proximity to the site. These design choices upheld the Center’s commitment to environmental conservation and provided positive economic development for the community. DLR Group|WRL provided integrated architecture and engineering design as well as theater technical and audiovisual design and museum planning for the project. 

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Awards & Recognition

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  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland
  • Best of Year Award of merit in the Cultural Category

    New York Construction
  • Best New Major Concert Venue

    Pollstar Online
  • Engineering Excellence Award, Platinum for Special Projects (with Clough Harbour & Associates)

    American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • Peggy Ezekiel Award of Outstanding Achievement in Theatre Consulting

  • Land Development Visionary Project Award Finalist

  • North American Copper in Architecture, Honorable Mention

  • 10th Annual Building Team Awards - Bronze Award

    Building Design & Construction
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement

    Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) 16th Annual TEA Awards

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Gerry Foundation