Alabama’s only public liberal arts college – the University of Montevallo – is getting a new arts center which the dean of the College of Fine Arts Steven Peters says “has the potential to be the creative engine for the entire university — a creative engine for discovery and innovation.”
Davis Architects in Birmingham designed the new 36,000-square-foot center which will provide comprehensive teaching and learning space, as well as give fine arts programs a place to collaborate across disciplines.
Andrew Taylor of Davis Architects is part of the design team that worked closely with university faculty and staff to create a performance venue and educational facility to bring together students and faculty from all departments within the College of Fine Arts. Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Theatre Consultants Collaborative also worked on the project.
“Dr. Steven Peters charged us with creating a ‘collaboratory,’ Taylor notes, “a place that would allow people to interact and collaborate in new ways, across disciplines, fostering more conversations and creativity.”
The center will include a 350-seat theater with the latest in acoustics and technology and a 100-seat black box theater, an indoor performance space with black walls and a level floor designed to provide flexibility in the configuration of the stage and the audience seating.
In addition, the center will contain an art gallery, theater department offices, multipurpose classrooms and studio, a multiuse digital fabrication lab, along with scene design and wardrobe shops.
Taylor says the challenge was designing a space capable of serving the diverse needs of the program, and at the same time upholding the integrity of the two performance spaces, both acoustically and functionally.
The center will also have a spacious front entry plaza which will form a “front porch” to the building with sweeping views of the center of campus. Taylor says this “front porch” will act not just as a transition space from the street to the main lobby, but also as a pleasant outdoor gathering space for receptions, performances and other events.
Image 1 – A rendering of the main façade of the new University of Montevallo Center for the Arts by Davis Architects in Birmingham. The 36,000-square-foot center offers full-spectrum teaching and learning space, and gives the university’s fine arts programs a place to collaborate across disciplines.
*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Image Courtesy of Davis Architects