Circuit of the Americas, the first purpose-built Formula 1 Grand Prix facility in the United States, is now the home to a series of new buildings created by Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects. The complex now features a Grand Plaza, a Tower Amphitheatre, the Main Grandstand, and a 251ft tall Observation Tower. The tracks will host its first major event, the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, this weekend.
The architects have created a unique design language taken from the precision, dynamism and performance-driven design of race cars. As a result the site is visually stimulating, incorporating banners, billboards and bold graphics into the design. In addition the structural systems have been innovatively articulated instead of being concealed behind a building's façade.
Miró Rivera Architects has created a consistent visual experience throughout the site through using one architectural theme throughout the site. This is the use of red steel tubes which cascade down the side of the Observation Tower to form a canopy for the Amphitheatre stage and also frame the Main Grandstand. The visual imagery created is evocative of sports cars and movement which ties the structures together.
Visitors pass through the main gate and immediately see the Observation Tower at the end of the Grand Plaza, creating a dramatic moment of arrival for spectators. The Observation Tower serves as the centrepiece of the complex, which rises over the racetrack offering sweeping views of the entire venue, downtown Austin and the nearby Hill Country. Its observation platform at the top can hold up to 75 people and features glass railings and a glass floor.
The Main Grandstand and the concessions buildings in the Grand Plaza were conceived as a modular system consisting of several components that can be arranged according to need. This flexibility enables the space to be adapted effectively and allows the site to grow and change over time.
At the heart of the complex is The Grand Plaza which borders the track on three sides. Its location on the inside the arc of the track is perfectly situated to capture the energy of racing: its speed, noise and excitement.
With the expectation of being completed in Spring 2013, The Tower Amphitheatre will be the largest in Central Texas, with total spectator capability of 15,000 people. The design has been inspired by classical Greek and Roman amphitheatres, which use the topography of the site to enhance acoustics and views.