People and Products

Owner: Brown University

Completion Date:  February 2011


Program: A three-story, 38,815-square-foot interdisciplinary arts center for a mix of Brown University's departments, including theater, dance, music, and visual art. The programs, which make up the university's Creative Arts Council, all have dedicated buildings on campus; the new center gives them a shared space where their students can come together to develop and exhibit their work. The building includes a 200-seat recital hall and screening facility, a multimedia lab, a recording studio, large multipurpose production studios, a wood shop, offices, and gallery space. Double-height rooms on the top floor serve as flexible installation and performance spaces. A green in front of the main (west) facade features grass-covered steps and doubles as an outdoor amphitheater; a flat swath of zinc paneling on the facade accommodates a projection screen.

Design concept and solution: In keeping with the spirit of collaboration that brought the Creative Arts Council's programs together in one building, the architects sought to visually unite the three levels of the steel-moment-frame and post-tensioned-concrete slab structure. Like a building that has undergone its own sort of creative intervention, the Granoff Center is cleaved vertically down the middle and offset slightly, creating six half-levels faced in glass. An acoustic-grade glass partition divides the two sides of the structure from each other, so that each floor looks onto the levels just below and just above it. An atrium housing a steel cantilevered stair backs up to both halves of the building. The architects outfitted the staircase with large landings, or "living rooms," with informal seating and lighting. Dotting each level along the main circulation route, these living rooms provide a place for meetings both planned and impromptu. On the exterior, the center's zinc-panel cladding undergoes its own transformation. Like the cleaved and displaced building halves, the facade suggests another form of force: on the north and south facades, the panels gradually pinch together until they are creased like the bellows of an accordion, folding up to accommodate windows toward the rear of the building.


Brown University

Diller Scofidio + Renfro
601 W. 26th Street, 1815
New York, NY 10001
P: 212.260.7971
F: 212.260.7924

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Principal-in-Charge: Charles Renfro (RA)

Principals: Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio (RA)

Project Leader: Gerard Sullivan (RA)

Project Architect: Jesse Saylor

Project Manager: Anthony Saby

Core Project Team: Chris Andreacola (RA), Mateo de Cardenas, James Brucz

Project Team: Robert Condon (RA), Laith Sayigh (RA), Michael Hundsnurscher, Hallie Terzopolos, Flavio Stigliano(RA), Kailin Gregga, Clint Keithley

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates

MEP, Fire Protection Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber, LLC

Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering

Geotechnical Engineer: GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

Landscape: Todd Rader + Amy Crews

Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates

Acoustical and AV Consultant: Jaffe Holden

Theatre Consultant: Fisher Dachs Associates

Wayfinding: Pentagram, Malcolm Grear

Sustainability Consultants: Atelier Ten

Life Safety Consultant: Hughes Associates, Inc.

Façade Consultant: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Façade Peer Review: Leavitt Associates, Inc.

Specifications Consultant: Construction Specifications, Inc.

IT/ Security Consultant: R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP

Hardware Consultant: Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions

General contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction

Iwan Baan
+31 (0)6 5463 0468 



Providence, Rhode Island


Total Construction Cost:

$27 million



Structural system: Post-Tension Concrete Slabs, Concrete and steel moment frame

Exterior cladding
Concrete: J. L. Marshall & Sons, Inc.

Concrete Floor Finish: Retroplate

Concrete Form Finish: Olympic

Exterior Wall Systems and Interior Acoustical Glass partition:  Karas and Karas Glass Company

Glass: Viracon

Zinc Composite Material: Alcoa/VM zinc

Exterior Venetian Blinds and Roller Shade:  Nysan 

Curtain wall: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope

Structural Sealant: Dow Corning 

Air and Vapor Barrier: W. R. Grace 

Roofing: Sarnafil

Green Roof: Roofscapes

Hardware Consultant: Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions

Interior finishes
Acoustical Wall and Ceiling Panels:  Pinta-Acoustic
Ceilings: USG

Ornamental Metals: Ryan Iron Works, Inc.

Millwork: Mark Richey

Tackable Wall Surfacing: Walltalkers

Interior Shades: Mechoshade

Projection Screens: Stewart Filmscreen Corporation

Resilient Flooring: Action Systems

Fabrics and Finishes: Maharam, Knoll

Seating: Series International

Lighting Control Systems: Lutron

Lighting: Litelab

Elevator: Kone