Carpenter’s Schubert Club Band Shell: "Floating like a volume of light on the Mississippi River"

Corner-fixed, open-edged laminated glass made with SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer gives the Schubert Bandshell a diffused light during the day.


The sculpted shape of the bandshell is designed to let the mighty Mississippi River flow right through during flood stages.
Photos by courtesy of James Carpenter Design Associates
Photos by courtesy of James Carpenter Design Associates
Photos by courtesy of James Carpenter Design Associates

The Schubert Club Band Shell is a tough yet delicate, self-supporting and free standing sculptural structure of laminated glass incorporating SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer. It is located at tiny Raspberry Island on the Mississippi River at St. Paul, Minnesota. Cultural events ranging from chamber music to poetry readings are now being hosted there.

James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA) of New York used SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayers for the Band Shell because the interlayer empowered the firm to design an ethereal-looking laminated glass structure that can be beautifully illuminated at night. According to James Carpenter: "Use of the interlayer allowed us to design a lightweight and delicate structure that floats like a volume of light on the Mississippi River." At the same time, the tough ionoplast means that the glass Band Shell is strong enough to withstand snow loads and Mississippi River flood-borne debris.

"The use of SentryGlas® meant that we could design with laminated glass as freely and safely as we could with a fully composite material such as concrete.

"Prior to completion of the Schubert Club Band Shell in September 2002, the island had been long neglected. The vision of the client, The Schubert Club of St. Paul (the oldest chamber music society in the USA’s Mid-West) and the island owner, the City of St. Paul Division of Parks and Recreation, was to re-awaken recreational activity along the river front. Carpenter told LGN: "The river valley, once a major industrial transportation corridor for the city was previously a dark silent void at night. Now, instead, the double-curved form of the luminous glass band shell acts as a light-diffusing canopy during the day and a luminous, glowing lantern at night. It draws people down to the island and river front, initiating the process of transforming the river into a recreational corridor of parks. "The challenge was to design a delicate structure that could survive the long cold winters and high snow loads as well as occasional floods. The solution we designed consists of a sinuous, translucent, low-iron faceted laminated glass form that will not impede the flow of the river during flood season and also acts as a two-sided performance space.

"The detail refinement of the Band Shell brings together concrete, wood, stainless steel and laminated safety glass into a space of intimate scale and functionality.


Learn more about the Schubert Club Band Shell project by downloading the case study: