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Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, United States

Friday 04 Jun 2010

Shades of silence

image © Michael Masengarb 
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Award Entry

Arizona venue's iconic roof offers protection from heat and noise pollution 

The Tempe Center for the Arts is an iconic civic meeting place celebrating Arizona’s cultural history and Sonoran desert landscape.

Acoustic mitigation through design was a critical concern because the site is directly below the flight path to Phoenix’s Airport. Inspired by the jagged buttes of Monument Valley, the iconic, protective 16-pitch, 10-layer roof conceals the fly tower, provides acoustic mitigation and modulates natural light sheltering its patrons from the harsh desert sun. The roof also facilitates the collection of rainwater, channeling it into a stone pond on the north side, similar to the way arroyos deliver rivers of rain across the desert floor

Designed as a collection of pavilions within a sculptural, protective envelope, the spacious lobby is an interior 'town square' offering protection from the harsh environment 16 hours a day, and is like a theater in itself.

The building draws its formal inspiration from the native ruins at Pueblo Bonita at Chaco Canyon, which consisted of traditional clustering of circular rooms or 'kivas'. A unifying 3-foot thick circular concrete wall creates a 360-degree iconic landform honoring the traditions of indigenous tribes: the Anasazi and Chocóan practices of utilising circular floor plans within protective walls that surround a central plaza; and the Hohokam tradition of linking landscape to building with meandering paths.

Juxtaposing concrete with warm woods, tribal vocabulary is referenced through traditional metals, stone, colours and indigenous patterns throughout.

The main theater seating is stacked, creating intimacy between performer and audience and providing optimal sightlines. The studio theater’s revolutionary NIVOflex® Airstage platform system adjusts to easily adapt to 17 seating configurations.

A remediation of a 'brownfield' site, the 90,000 sq ft program includes two state-of-the-art flexible performance spaces, a 'Smithsonian-criteria' gallery, lakeside multipurpose room, café and 17-acre arts park. The project was completed in September 2007.

This project was completed in joint venture by Barton Myers Associates, Inc. and Architekton

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Barton Myers Associates, Inc. + Architekton

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