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Performing Arts Center

Year: 3rd Year 2nd Semester

Type:Cultural, Public Space, Urban

Program: Performing Arts Center

Location: 17th St and 2nd Ave. Birmingham, Alabama

Scale: 30,000 sq ft


        The B'Ham Performing Arts Center was conceived as a part of the current urban revitalivation occuring in Birmingham as the city responds to a relatively post-industrial condition.  The major element of the city's revitalivation is Railroad Park, a park that runs parallel to the rail system that initially centered the now demphisized industrial nature of Birmingham.

        The Arts Center is located just a block away from the new park in a infill site.  The design began with the neccessary acceptance of an onsite oak tree.  This oak sat on the street side and a had a strong potential to work sembiotically with the architecture to create a grand public canopy that was an extension of the sidewalk.

       The program needed to be expressed to the street because of the buildings civic nature.  The sloping floor of the theater became the public canopy that sat with the existing oak.  The simple sloped gestured as well as the red underside allowed the building to be read abstractly as a theater.

       The adjacent space consisted of all the community functions such as classrooms, dance studios, and offices.  It was conceived as a giant theater space with the lobby holding the presence of the stage while the other spaces look down onto the "drama" .

        Brick was used to respond to the vernacular of Birmingham. Loadbearing brick defined the vertical struture while Glulam beams defined the horizontal structure.  To create a strong contrast a tertiary material need to be introduced.  Panelite, a semi-transparent composite material, was used for partition walls creating a stark contrast between the heavy structural elements and the light ephemeral.

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