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Steel Shots: Music in the SteelStacks
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM.


The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the focal point of a new arts and cultural campus on the former Bethlehem Steel plant, serves as a stunning asymmetrical arch of stainless steel panels — fabricated in Pennsylvania by Levan Associates, an AISC member and AISC Certified Fabricator — over a stage that uses 20-story furnaces as a backdrop for outdoor concerts and performances. (Click on the photo for an expanded view.) Photo: Paul Warchol, courtesy of WRT

After 150 years of commercial success, Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Steel plant closed its 1,800-acre facility in the 1990s, leaving a skyline of massive blast furnaces and industrial structures on the banks of the Lehigh Valley. Since that time, the city of Bethlehem has searched for a means of turning the largest brownfield in the U.S. into a major cultural, education and entertainment district that would help to restore the economic and cultural life of the region.


The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks was designed by architect Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), Philadelphia, and engineered by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in Boston. The underframe is exposed through perforated steel panels, all fabricated in Pennsylvania by Levan Associates, an AISC member and AISC Certified Fabricator.


Fluorescent light strips are hidden inside squared arches made of galvanized steel, and LED lighting subtly changes the color of the stacks. The cantilevered, multi-angled rooftop is supported in the foreground by angled planes that push the canopy back up, and the remaining exposed stage forms an intentionally incomplete proscenium arch.


The pavilion is part of a new 9.5-acre arts and cultural campus on the industrial complex, tying together the older structures, proposed buildings, open spaces and sections of two residential streets. The “SteelStacks district” includes a cinema, visual arts studios, gallery, cafe, bistro and a town-square / piazza for performances and gathering.


To learn more about the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks and view additional photos, visit


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