A familiar sight is missing from Midtown Crossing at Turner Park.
After a successful inaugural year, the canopy above the stage has been taken down for the season. It will return next spring after the threat of snow is gone.
Like so many outdoor structures, weather played a central role in the design and construction of The Pavilion, as it is called.
The canopy would not have its delicate arc if it had been built to withstand the weight of snow, said Robert Zimmerman, project manager for the firm that oversaw its installation.
This is why dismantling the canopy in autumn will become an annual ritual.
Zimmerman, of the Omaha firm Project Advocates, said a winter-hardy option was available, but it would have had to be more workmanlike and costly to be robust enough.
“We wanted it to feel light,” he said.
Besides, who wants to attend an outdoor concert in winter's bitter chill?
The canopy was made by the Canadian company Tentnology.
While the canopy appears delicate, it probably is one of the more wind-resistant structures in the region. That's because it is an “off-the-shelf” design for use internationally, which means it is manufactured to meet the toughest wind standards of any country.
The Midtown Crossing canopy should withstand straight-line winds gusting to 115 mph, while local building standards would have required only a 90 mph wind resistance.
Should catastrophic winds occur, the canopy is designed to shred rather than sail away, Zimmerman said.
In contrast, the towering metal sculptures on Council Bluffs' 24th Street bridge over Interstate 80/29 are built to the 90 mph wind standard:
Holland Basham Architects designed the stage and anchoring system for the canopy.
Another aspect of weather that played a central role in the site's appearance is rain. The stage sits at the bottom of a hill, so the ground around the stage would be too soggy for concertgoers following a rain if accommodations hadn't been made for runoff.
The attractive plantings on either side of the stage are actually designed to collect and temporarily store even heavy rains.
Zimmerman said the drainage system can handle as much rain as would fall during an estimated 1-in-100-year rainfall. Those rains have about a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year.
Because urban runoff is considered a form of water pollution, the rain garden is built to meet city and federal Clean Water Act standards. The regulations seek to slow, lessen and filter runoff.
The Turner Park system filters out pollutants and allows runoff to drain over a 24-hour period.
Zimmerman said the cabling, the anchoring, the lighting and many other aspects of the stage required coordinating and engineering to fit into the space available.
“A lot of care went into this,” he said. “It's elegantly simple.”