Spillman Farmer Architects design stands "toe to toe"with great machines of the industrial revolution
SteelStacks is a dynamic arts, culture and education campus that will be constructed on 4.5 acres of former Bethlehem Steel Corporation land in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The SteelStacks campus is envisioned as a premier destination for people of all ages to experience the visual, musical and performing arts, all in one location. Anchoring the campus at the foot of the historic blast furnaces will be ArtsQuest Center, designed by Spillman Farmer Architects.
ArtsQuest Center is a striking four-storey steel and glass structure with 68,000 sq ft of distinctive venues to showcase the arts. Inside, the first floor of the building features a two-screen state-of-the-art cinema theater as well as the Creativity Commons, a large public space capable of supporting a wide variety of live performances. Overlooking the Creativity Commons is the Loft, a unique mezzanine gathering space, and the multi-purpose Blast Furnace Room, which will host a variety of community and educational functions. The third and fourth floors of ArtsQuest Center feature the 450-seat, cabaret-style Musikfest Café, a venue to showcase a wide variety of live music performances.
Architecturally, the building was designed with economy in mind, with careful detailing to add depth and richness to the simple box shape. The exterior is composed of pre-cast concrete, a cost-effective construction material, but uses the pre-cast panels in innovative ways by mounting them with the rough, hand-screed concrete side facing outward (rather than facing inward as is typical). This approach gives the material physical texture and a visual interest that will change as the sun moves over the building. Overhead, the cantilevered outdoor terrace makes a dramatic statement with its bold steel beams painted in International Orange. The south side of the building offers a dramatic glass curtainwall overlooking the iconic Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces.