Part 1 of 2: Putting the all in Hall, Audience Connections Final!

The idea is to build a performing arts center that truly does accommodate the needs of a community.  Just saying it does or will, is not enough! For their final, my Audience Connections class of 4 divided into 2 groups  and were charged with creating a concept design.  If we want to attract the 20 somethings, shouldn’t they have a say too!…….Here is my summary and grading of Paper # 1:

Sd530342_3 Meet Audience Connections 2007 from left to right:

Dan Kieffer, Katie Schirmer, Ellie Swogger, Amy McGeehee

Dan and Katie are up first with their new Performing Arts Center – CENTRO

Sd530343 In Italy, the center of the town is designated by a target sign and the word “Centro”. Throughout any city, you see signs leading you to the city’s center. In creating a space to be used as a town’s cultural center and source of pride and identity, we felt the name Centro summed up the idea we wanted to portray. Our Centro will be a town center for whatever community it is placed in; it will be utilized by every section of the community in some way or another. It fully addresses a community’s artistic needs. We have broken this proposal down into the various spaces of Centro and how they will be used.

To summarize I found some really unique aspects to their idea.  Firstly, they do away with boxes and instead in the main hall, they replace them with … premium high quality seats that are plush and comfortable … with the desire to make more available to all whilst offering …luxury rather than snobbery…Hey it could be like being upgraded to first class if someone has enough frequent listener miles!

Next I am very impressed with their concepts of classy but accessible and modern, making the space “Phantom ready”, but I am especially impressed with their idea for handicapped accessibility. Here is the paragraph in full:

For handicapped patrons, the center section of the first row of the orchestra back section will have removable seats to accommodate any number of disabled patrons and their guests. For example, if two wheelchairs needed to sit together they could, or it could be one wheelchair and five theater seats. All the seats in the row can be taken out or reconfigured to fit in patrons in wheelchairs

Sd530346 The front red section are the luxury seats and the blue shows the placement for wheelchairs in the front rows, not the back rows!  The fact that it is customizable makes it truly accommodating, Bravo!

They have concepts for three other spaces as part of the center, including The Out an outdoor theater based on the Scoop in London which is multi-purpose and seasonal.  Then there is The Box, a 100 seat black box theater:

We see this as a jazz club, art gallery, in-the-round or environmental theater; really anything could go here. Seating is removable and can be changed to accommodate any event.

The space I was most excited to read about was The Thrust:

Sd530347 With tables and and seating combined, their are so many possibilities for cabaret style performances by so many different kinds of disciplines such as Comedy, Fashion shows, Theater, Chamber Music, really anything including the removing of the tables to create a dance floor.

For Lobby and Hallways they conceptualize art installations including art to reflect local area history as well as highlighting local artists work.  They point out, that Centro will be a place to visit even when there is no performance happening, a vital component to make it accessible for all.

They include a supervised children’s space The Spot that is large and bright that also can be configured into a children’s theater and has additional programming during the day, not just child care at the concerts themselves.

They have a three Restaurants in their space.  A high end “Wolfgang Puck” style eatery that has a live audio feed from the hall (I would suggest video also), a small grab and go style cafe espresso bar etc… and they would have The Thrust serve as a tapas bar that is a destination for “happy hours” when not used for performances.

The key word is destination, they have certainly created one,maximizing a space for use and patronage.   I would want to go to this hall performance or not!  Here is the full text:

Download performingartscenter.doc


On Monday in Paper # 2, we will visit “The Underground”

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