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St. Joseph's Health Amphitheater at Lakeview Site


Syracuse, NY


85-acre site


  • AIA New York State - Award of Citation, 2017

  • IES Illumination - Award of Merit, 2017

  • American Institute of Architects, CNY Chapter - Award of Merit, Institutional Category, 2016

  • Building Design + Construction ( - Building Team Platinum Award, 2016

  • ENR New York’s 2016 Best Project - Government/Public Building

  • ENR New York’s 2016 Best Project - Excellence in Safety

  • NYS Recreation and Park Society, Exceptional Facility Design Award

  • Ohio Design Awards - Merit Award, 2016

  • AIA Cleveland - Honor Award, 2015


  • West Lake Reed Leskosky

At the close of the 19th century,  Onondaga Lake’s western shore was a delightful resort destination with amusement parks, hotels, and restaurants accessed via steamboats and trains. However, during the mid-century industrial age, the resorts disappeared, and the lake and frontages were polluted with industrial waste. As a superfund brownfield, the lake and shore required decades of pollution mitigation to achieve clean waters and land. With that investment, the state and community began planning redevelopment to reclaim this natural resource and recognizing it as a heritage site for the Iroquois nations.

The Amphitheater performing arts venue harkens back to those early days at a site ideally located in concert with a new lake trail system. A carefully orchestrated arrival sequence heightens the drama of arrival, nestled within a cove on the lake, where expansive views of the lake can be enjoyed by pavilion and lawn patrons. The site design incorporates access to the lake bike path connecting to downtown, which will ultimately circumnavigate the entire lake engaging the community in the park setting. Graceful fully accessible pathways enable a calm and celebratory experience of the facility in the context of the lake.

Design challenges included:

  • Design -Build fast track project execution, with only 8 months for design and construction, to meet the state fair opening deadline.

  • Significant redesign ( based on preliminary concepts by others) to reduce costs by $30M.

  • Designing with consideration of the geotechnical and environmental issues from waste beds up to 70’ deep.

  • Configuring paths and walks for safe and efficient movement of pedestrians and bicyclists and to comply with ADA accessibility requirements

As the “jewel on the crown”, the Lakeview Amphitheater celebrates the lake reclamation efforts by enabling regional residents and visitors to meaningfully re-engage with historic Onondaga Lake.

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