Morley Performing Arts PavilionYoungstown, Ohio

Project Description

Mill Creek Park, part of the Appalachian Highlands, is one of the jewels of Youngstown. Created in 1891 by early environmentalist, Volney Rogers, its drives, walks, and views were originally laid out by Frederick Law Olmstead. It is a focus of community life all year long

With a modest budget of $300,000, the Park Foundation, wanting to expand the park’s ability to meet the expectations of a more diverse population, asked the architects to design a covered stage facility with lawn seating for 3,000 patrons for all-weather performances by the local symphony and other musical groups.  The building was sited at the west end of a gently sloping meadow, bordered by woods on the east and south, a wooden fence on the north and an existing drive and car park on the west. The simple form and structure is a derivative of a basic symmetrical plan. The performance area is designed to accommodate an 80-member orchestra.

The design borrows materiality (natural stone, cedar shingles, and copper roofing) and context from several earlier Park structures (Pioneer Pavilion, 1821 remodeled 1893; Slippery Rock Pavilion 1910; and Chestnut Hill Pavilion 1939).  It was placed on an elevated stone base with the proscenium arch springing from battered stone buttresses. The copper brow extends over the performance area, with the cupola circulating fresh air to the stage.

Jury Comments:

– “Wonderfully proud little Park building.”

–  “Some of us have seen many similar projects throughout in recent years.  Many, while overly theatrical, are thin and boisterous without giving a sense of permanence or quality.  This succeeds where many of those other efforts have not.”


1994 AIA Eastern Ohio Design Honor Award
1998 AIA Ohio Design Honor Award

Project Gallery

Related Projects