Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects have designed a set of striking buildings at the Circuit of The Americas, the first purpose-built Formula 1 Grand Prix facility in the United States, which hosted its first event last November.
Seeking to evoke the precision, dynamism and performance-driven design of racecars, the architects have designed a Grand Plaza, a 6,500-seat Tower Amphitheater, a Main Grandstand, a 76 metre-high Observation Tower, ticketing buildings, concession areas and two bridges over the track. In all the buildings, the architects have determined the structural systems be articulated and become significant parts of the design. Similarly, all the volumes feature a prevalent use of red steel tubes, cascading down the side of the Observation Tower to form a canopy for the Amphitheater stage and also frame the Main Grandstand.
Inspired by the image of red streaks of glowing light from racecar tails, the Observation Tower offers sweeping views of the surroundings. Built from steel, it is composed of a white shaft with two sets of stairs wrapping around a high-speed elevator. The Main Grandstand is located in front of the start and finish lines, providing seating to over 9,000 spectators on three levels.
At the heart of the circuit complex lies the Grand Plaza, featuring a reflecting pool and varying landscape zones that enclose the space and define unique areas of activity. The Main Grandstand and the concessions buildings in the Grand Plaza were conceived as a modular system consisting of several components that can be arranged according to need. The concessions, with banners and deep canopies, can be expanded with restrooms, permanent seating or suites. Inherent to this "kit-of-parts" construction system is flexibility allowing the site to grow and change.
Also located in the Grand Plaza, the Tower Amphitheater, to be completed in spring 2013, will be the largest outdoor amphitheater in Central Texas. With a total spectator capability of 15,000 people, its design is based on classical Greek and Roman amphitheaters, and it will be used for large-scale music and entertainment events.