With a radical, one-of-a-kind approach to spatial, acoustic and technical flexibility, Brown University’s planned 94,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center (PAC) will inspire innovative art-making, enable new forms of artistic collaboration and serve as a hub for performance at Brown.
The approved site for the PAC is a location on Brown’s College Hill campus on The Walk — a series of linked green spaces that intersect campus — between Angell and Olive streets, facing the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. With adjacency to other arts-centered academic facilities in the heart of campus, the location will allow for access by students and faculty whose other academic activities are centered nearby.
On its striking exterior, the building will be shrink-wrapped in an extruded aluminum rainscreen, composed of fractal-like fluted geometry. The appearance of color and pattern on the façade will shift with seasonal changes and time of day. Intersecting the vertical flutes, a 13-foot horizontal "clearstory" slices through the building, revealing the interior of the main floor.
The state-of-the-art main performance hall will transform into any of five vastly different stage/audience configurations — ranging from a 625-seat symphony orchestra hall to a 250-seat proscenium theater to an immersive surround-sound cube for experimental media performance.
A $20 million gift from two longtime Brown supporters will create the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Lobby, a central convening space on campus with room for 190 people. The lobby sits within the building’s horizontal “clearstory,” which slices through the façade at stage level to enable performances, rehearsals and arts scholarship to extend into the Brown campus and local neighborhood, inviting the community to witness and engage in the creation of art within the building.
Below street level in the PAC, spaces for theater, music and dance will allow students and faculty to create cutting-edge, original artwork and offer spaces for student groups and other collaborative endeavors. Each includes a control room and customizable performance equipment, enabling the room to function as studios, classrooms, stages or meeting spaces.