Haddad Riverfront Park

Haddad Riverfront Park was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1993 as a 36,000 square foot concrete amphitheater on the banks of the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston, WV. It is a regional gathering place for people to celebrate holidays and city festivals, listen to music and enjoy watching the river traffic. In 2008, the City of Charleston organized a committee to investigate ways of making the park more user friendly and visually appealing, connecting city to park and park to river. With no shade, warm sunny days create an inhospitable environment on the concrete surface which radiates heat even during the evening hours. With only a row of flagpoles and a small sign, there was no way to identify the park as a significant public space from street level. With a Small Business Association grant of $2,400,000 and a private donation of $250,000, the design team was hired by the City of Charleston to address five separate projects: a shade structure (canopy) for the center section of seating, a permanent performance stage, a pavilion, streetscape and boat docks.

The primary design objectives of the canopy were to create a unique and iconic structure celebrating Charleston’s “front porch”, to provide shade for people and amphitheater surface keeping the concrete cool, and the canopy was required to allow unobstructed views of the sky for viewing fireworks during city festivals and holidays. A tensile fabric and steel structure was designed for its ability for long spans with a single large fabric panel to retract toward and away from the stage. When retracted the mobile panel rests below a street side fabric panel structure. The 2,400 square foot mobile panel is 80 feet wide and rides along two steel arches which span 90 feet from sidewalk level to the river level bulkhead. The fixed structure rises 50 feet above sidewalk level and is 90 feet wide. The fabric is PTFE, a Teflon-coated fiberglass material which is very durable and virtually self-cleaning.


2011 AIAWV Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture


City of Charleston, WV


Charleston, WV




New Construction