Anchor and catalyst for the developing arts and entertainment district, the community performing arts center incorporates a 525-seat auditorium, 200-seat studio theater, and a multipurpose event space.
The performing arts center is owned by the municipality and managed by the community parks department and is focused on enriching the quality of life of people in the community. The facility is occupied by the region’s foremost professional theater companies, touring companies, and youth programs. Additionally, the center hosts events such as seminars, concerts, and private parties.
• Connecting people
• Making the arts visible and accessible
• Emphasizing community
• Creating connection between the developing arts and entertainment district and the existing downtown district
• Ensuring sensitivity to context and scale
The experience starts at the street and was conceptualized through a series of sequential vignettes considering how the viewer can become the viewed. The promenade engages the public in the act of performance by providing formal and informal opportunities for speeches, musicians, discussions, play, or simply to ‘See and Be Seen’. The lobby is the organizing element and serves as both frame and veil, creating connections and dramatic intrigue through spatial overlapping, blending of exterior to interior, variation of opacity, and use of light.
The design philosophy in respect to scale and context is best summarized by a quote from Eero Saarinen: “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan”.
The design solution amalgamates historical context, anticipation of future context, and the client’s desire to create an icon for the community.