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.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
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
MEP, Fire Protection Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber, LLC
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
Geotechnical Engineer: GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
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
Providence, Rhode Island
Total Construction Cost:
Structural system: Post-Tension Concrete Slabs, Concrete and steel moment frame
Concrete Floor Finish: Retroplate
Concrete Form Finish: Olympic
Exterior Wall Systems and Interior Acoustical Glass partition: Karas and Karas Glass Company
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
Green Roof: Roofscapes
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
Seating: Series International