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Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Gearan Center for the Performing Arts

Encouraging multi-disciplinary interaction.

A crossroads between Music, Theatre and Dance, the new building fosters synergy between faculty and students that were once divided around campus. Educationally-focused, efficient and flexible, every inch of the performing arts building serves multiple functions. A central lobby unifies the complex and provides areas for gathering and for informal performances. Classrooms support inter-disciplinary teaching and include various sized spaces to encourage individual creations and team collaborations in a safe, healthy and comfortable learning environment.

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Building design takes its cues from campus.

The Performing Arts Building is expressive of the campus through its architectural form, and of the arts through its internal programmatic layout. The building program is broken into discrete parts that form individual identities, each serving to break the building into fine scale elements through the use of brick gabled wings, and accented by steep pitched roofs. In context, the building draws its vocabulary from nearby Williams, Coxe and Medberry Halls. Those contextual elements include a tower, steep sloped roofs, warm brick and the use of stone details. The glowing jewel box entrance is anchored by an 80’ tall lighted tower beckoning patrons to the building.

Section Diagram

Experiential learning.

The design team artfully uses building geometry to separate acoustically sensitive spaces and unites them with a central lobby. Dedicated space for classrooms, practice and rehearsal rooms, costume and scene shops, dressing rooms, a box office, and control rooms support experiential learning. Performance and practice spaces include modern lighting and sound equipment, exposing students to all elements of putting on a performance.

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Interior Diagram Theatre Colored
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Sustainable design.

This LEED Gold certified building achieves sustainability in multiple ways. The site is a former parking lot and is fitted with bioswales that filter runoff water. The building design uses recycled and certified wood, LED lighting, ample daylighting of all interior spaces, and a small green roof. A consciously constrained building footprint and building volume limits the building’s impact on the site and reduces the total building materials needed.

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