Stages Music Outdoor Concert Space

Stages, a new music studio and education center in Cockeysville, Maryland, was looking
to update and convert their exterior learning space to allow for students to forget that they were
located in the middle of an industrial park. The objective of this project was to transform the
surrounding area of the studio into an outdoor performance space and learning space, while
staying true to the client’s vision of creating a natural setting similar to Bozeman, Montana.
Through the construction of an outdoor patio, fireplace, grill area, walkways, and the placement
of boulders as benches, we constructed a space reminiscent of being out west with a focus on
comfortability, tranquility, and an overall vitalizing atmosphere. Ultimately we erected a space
that allowed for the dreariness of the industrial park to fade away, a space for students to learn
and perform in serenity. We converted what was once stone lots into a multipurpose arena that
can be used for both small learning environments and large outdoor concerts, in the day and the
night utilizing the lighting we created, and through three of the seasons. We transformed the
space into one reminiscent of being in the mountains of Montana, and this student and audience
friendly, peaceful setting we produced has become a treasured place of creativity and
The immediate challenge of this project was drainage as the outdoor patio space we
built was at the bottom of a hill of the neighboring commercial building and also lower than the
new music studio. To get water out of the entire outdoor space, while staying true to the client’s
vision of natural paths, we had to use special products such as gravel lok to create water
permeable walkways, as well as extensive underground piping and drain boxes tied in to the
storm drain system. The client wanted a large fireplace with a tall chimney, which proved to be a
challenge in the middle of an industrial park with strict fire safety codes and regulations. We had
to work with the Baltimore County fire marshalls in design and construction in order to comply
with the fire codes within an industrial park. To comply with OSHA safety codes three out of the
four of the sides of the fireplace had to have scaffolding, and the crew had to use harnesses and tie
offs. We were able to build a workable fireplace that complied with all of the safety standards.
The client wanted a western feel, however we were contracted to build this project in an
industrial park with tall commercial buildings surrounding us. To block out the commercial
buildings, and defeat the industrial feel, w e had to install 16 ft spruce trees with 50 inch root balls
on a 2:1 slope that separated stages from the neighboring industrial building. The clients vision of
Bozeman, Montana also proved to be a challenge as this meant that all products, such as stone
and wood, had to appear natural and fit in aesthetically with the overall design. We had to find
perfectly rectangular boulders to make sitting benches, which proved to be a lengthy challenge
and forced us into New Hampshire and Maine in order to locate.