The Gerald R. Ford Courtyard Pavilion was conceived as a special gathering place and “front door” to the existing Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater within Ford Park. The success of the amphitheater prompted the Vail Valley Foundation to consider the development of a pre-convene area for the venue…a place where guests could gather before the event and socialize with fellow attendees.
The organic shape of the amphitheater inspired Zehren and Associates to design a pavilion with gentle lines and sweeping forms—in this case a “Birdair” structure utilizing massive stone columns and tensile fabric to form a protective shelter from the elements such as sun and rain, while at the same time offering translucency to the sky above.
The graceful structure offers protection without the feeling of confinement and also features a gated entry for event control, landscape pockets, stone seating walls, and stairs and a ramp leading to the podium level of the amphitheater. The materials of tensile fabric, stone veneer, stone slabs, and copper panels complement the other materials found on the amphitheater and its ancillary buildings.