Mark Cavagnero Associates build performing arts centre for the young people of Richmond
"The stellar rebuilding of our permanent home for young artists here in the Iron Triangle neighbourhood of Richmond will ‐ over the coming decades ‐ bring hundreds of thousands of young people's imaginations into play as we partner with residents and stakeholders to better our community. Within a neighbourhood that has for 60 years regrettably struggled with chronic poverty and violence, the attention to beauty, dignity, and public access that Mark's (Cavagnero & Associates) work has brought to the Winters Building will be a beacon for generations." - Jordan Simmons, Artistic Director for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts.
The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts is a nationally‐recognised training and production center, dedicated to the underserved youth of the community which it serves. Located in a neighbourhood known as the Iron Triangle, the historically significant Winters Building is a former 1920's dance hall and has been transformed into a new urban center for music and dance.
The project includes a complete new structure and build out of systems within the historic shell. At the exterior, a new glass storefront wraps the first floor façade from McDonald Avenue, the main artery, around to the primary entrance on 11th Street. The storefront façade has large, rhythmically arranged openings intended to express the interior vitality of the center, while at the same time complementing the historic exterior façade of the upper stories. Each of the three floors was designed for maximum flexibility for educational, performance, and administrative needs. The space programme includes two large classroom/performance spaces: a 200‐seat auditorium with raked seating and a flat floor venue with flexible platform seating; as well as classrooms, practice studios, and offices.
Through close collaboration with the structural engineer, the structural design solution included the insertion of a new steel structure within the historic shell, including new steel cross bracing. The specially designed steel brace frames serve a dual purpose - to allow the building to safely resist wind and earthquake loads, as well as to integrate a unique architectural detail and aesthetic into the various spaces. Informed by the City of Richmond's rich WWII shipyard history, the double‐angle bracing and tapered gusset plates are finely detailed while boldly articulating the spirit of the Center and its urban setting.
The future of the Center is one where the beauty and functionality of the renovated facility will change the perception of the Center from that of a "run on a shoe‐string" enterprise to one that is strong, robust and "built to last;" attract more students; develop and present higher quality programming for students, parents and the community; attract new investments from donors; and, increase earned revenue through strategic programming of the two new community theatres.
Over the next 50 years, the restored building will enable the Center to:
-Instruct 125,000 children and youth in long‐term professional hands‐on training;
-Partner with local public school districts to serve a minimum of 100,000 public school children;
-Support thousands of public school teachers with U.S. Department of Education supported professional development workshops and curriculum;
-Entertain 500,000 local and regional audience members in the community performance spaces;
-Engage the Iron Triangle Neighbourhood of 20,000 in public programming and the telling of their own stories;
-Employ thousands of Bay Area artists as instructors, performers, creators, and as public educational resources; and,
-Realise the graduation of 750 Artist Diploma Students - examples of the highest artistic/leadership potential of local youth.
The primary objectives of the renovation project are grounded in East Bay Center's core values of affecting endemic local violence, improving the scholastic performance of our youth, increasing their self‐esteem, and nurturing parental, family and civic involvement in their education. As part of the City of Richmond's urban redevelopment effort, the renovated facility will serve as leverage for $200 million of redevelopment projects in the chronically depressed downtown area of the city and at the same time benefit the larger community of Contra Costa County and the East Bay region.
The project reflects the Center's unwavering commitment to improving public education, supporting the urban renewal and economic revitalisation of the Iron Triangle neighbourhood through the preservation of a key asset in the city of Richmond, and ensuring preservation of the Bay Area region's rich cultural history. The renovated building will have a significant impact on the next 100,000 students served, the residents of the Iron Triangle neighbourhood, and the surrounding Bay Area. The project dramatically increases the building's capacity as a neighbourhood, community, and Bay Area resource. The renovated building will become a showcase for what can be accomplished through the public‐private partnership process and community and citizen engagement, in a highly complex urban neighbourhood plagued with 60‐year economic and social challenges.
Creating more spacious, accessible performance and rehearsal spaces deepens the connection with the Center's core constituency and provides for production excellence and sustainability. The restored façade welcomes and draws new community members to the Center, as well as reclaims the building's historic beauty and dignity.