Wolfe Center for the Callaborative Arts
World renowned practice Snohetta delivers the project for the Wolfe Center for the Collaborative Arts in Ohio by creating an inviting and engaging space for the students which will use the space. The center will house a number of classrooms, studios for music, drama and art departments as well as a 400 seat theater space. The design of the building is a response to the smooth planes of the northwest Ohio landscape, with its far horizons and big sky.
Located in the middle of the Bowling Green State University, the 93,000-sf building serves as a collaborative anchor connecting the music and fine arts buildings. Ryan Miller, project manager at BGSU, explains that the main theatre holds approximately 400 patrons, depending on the room configuration, to provide an intimate setting for performers to perfect their voices while encouraging audience interaction within a learning environment.
Punctuating the expansive horizons of northwestern Ohio, the new Wolfe Center for the Arts at Bowling Green State University rises from the fertile plains to alter the local landscape – both literally and culturally. The landscape plan is divided into three distinct outdoor spaces surrounding the building: the sloping lawn to the east, the intimate sculpture garden to the south, and the entrance plaza to the west.
The sloped berm, which “clads” the eastern portion of the building as it emerges from the landscape, is planted with turf grass identical to the grass which grows elsewhere on campus. A roof terrace provides an outdoor space for gathering, eating, sitting, and studying.
The landscape design ties the new building to the existing campus, allowing for flexible public spaces, a strengthening of the campus green space and a frame for the new arts center. A grand open hall greets the visitor from the main entrance of the new Wolfe Center. Sunlit and spacious, the lobby provides views upward to the lounges, classrooms and studios of the art, music and drama departments on the second level of the Center.
The building contains three performance spaces: a proscenium theater for large-scale productions of musical theater, opera, and classical drama; a studio theater for the presentation of more diverse artistic styles, and an Actor’s theater for experimental productions, integrating the spoken word and body movement with digital and sound technology.
In addition to being a place for students and faculty to learn and work on theatrical, dance, musical, film and digital arts productions, the center will offer the community an exceptional venue in which to see a wide range of performances. The unique program unites a diverse range of art studies into a socially enterprising facility meant to encourage lively interaction among students and faculty alike.
The Wolfe Center for the Arts key facilities:
- A 400-seat proscenium arch stage, designed to accommodate all types of theatrical and operatic performances
- A 200-seat actor’s theater, with flexible seating that can be rearranged from a traditional layout, to multi-level, to stage-surround, and more
- A black-box stage
- A recording studio and editing bays
- State-of-the-art choral facilities
- A substantial common space to facilitate the creative process
The Wolfe Center has at it’s very core a unique program that unites a diverse range of art studies in to a socially enterprising facility meant to encourage lively interaction among students and faculty alike. It will ultimately be a place of quiet distinction and boundless energy.
High value is place on the creation of open and democratic places within the design breaking down the barriers that might otherwise exist between people of divergent interests. In the Wolfe Center we have created a grand open hall that greets the visitor from the main entrance. Sunlit and spacious, the lobby provides views upward to the lounges, classrooms and studios of the art, music and drama departments on the second level of the Center.
Situated at the heart of the building the Donnell Theater seats 400 and can be used for a range of performance venues. It is designed as a high quality room in the style of the great Broadway halls found in New York and London. Working together with the internationally recognized theater planners Theatre Projects Consultants and the acousticians Akustiks, we have placed a great deal of emphasis upon the intimacy and function of this room as that it will meet the highest contemporary criteria for a theater of this kind. The main hall is flanked by a smaller Actor’s Theater and another studio theater.
The vast agrarian plains of the northwestern Ohio, the gently meandering rivers flowing northward toward the great lakes and the unbroken horizons across the cultural landscape of fields and farms allow for a unique framework of context. Nearly 20,000 years ago glacier shelves scoured this landscape and on their retreat northward the ice left vast plateaus of rich soils and uncovered geology.
The new Wolfe Center will create a memorable link between the vast openness of the ancient plateaus that characterize this landscape and the dynamic and contemporary notion of fostering openness.
Project name: Wolfe Center for the Callaborative Arts
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio, United States
Coordinates: 41.377420, -83.633641
Type: Cultural Center, Theatre and Auditorium, University
Project Area: 98,000 sq.ft
Project Year: 2011
Cost: $41 million
Completion Year: fall 2011
Client / Owner / Developer: Bowling Green State University
Architects: Snøhetta, Akershusstranda 21, Skur 39, N-0150 Oslo, Norway
Associate Architect: The Collaborative, INC
Project Team: The Collaborative, INC – Michael DiNardo, Jim Sarks, Don Myers, Lisa Crawford-Nusser
Project Director: Elaine Molinar, Vanessa Kassabian, Scott Melancon
Design Team: Craig Dykers, Vanessa Kassabian, Elaine Molinar, Nicolas Rader, Scott Melancon
Landscape: Snøhetta – Knut Bjørgum, and Claire Fellman
MEP: Korda Engineering
Mechanical Engineer: Jim Demsky
Structural Engineer: Greg Fraker
Electrical Engineer: Rob Gardner
Theater Project: Gene Leitermann, Tony Forman, Scott Crossfield
Acoustic Consultants: Akustiks, Paul Scarbrough, Chris Blair
General Contractor: Rudolph Libbe
Plumbing: Bayes, Inc.
Mechanical: Vaughn Industries, LLC
Electrical: Lake Erie Electric of Toledo, Inc.
Fire Protection: SA Comunale
Text Description: © Courtesy of Snøhetta
Images: © Bruce Damonte, Snøhetta
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