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TheatreSquared: Designed by Marvel Architects & Charcoalblue

652 Days ago

New Regional Theater of National Importance Opens in Fayetteville, Arkansas

New York, New York, Sept. 03, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marvel Architects announces the opening of a new permanent home for TheatreSquared, a nationally-recognized, year-round professional resident theatre in Fayetteville, Arkansas. TheatreSquared’s new 50,000 SF building unites two states-of-the art theatres, a dedicated rehearsal/event space, administrative offices, education and community spaces, on-site scenery, props and costume workshops, outdoor terraces at three levels, and an open-all-day café/bar. In addition to performing and support spaces, there are eight short-term residences for visiting actors, writers, and directors—demonstrating TheatreSquared’s commitment to the artist community.

“We’re completely head-over-heels for this place,” said TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller. “It’s a building where the theatre-making is visible, where artists feel at home, and which welcomes the public inside. Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue were collaborative, innovative, and hardworking in their pursuit of our community’s vision for a theatre of our own.”

Marvel Architects, in collaboration with the design team’s lead theatre and acoustic design consultant Charcoalblue, created two innovative theatres capable of mounting complex, technically-challenging productions situated within acoustically isolated envelopes. TheatreSquared’s previous venue was abnormally wide and shallow resulting in elaborate and extensive stage settings and an immersive, intimate audience experience. This extra-wide stage was replicated in the new building and theatre audience capacity was dramatically increased while maintaining intimacy; indeed, the last row is only one row deeper than in TheatreSquared’s previous space. Audience members enter the main theatre at the stage level, the same level as the actors—another experiential element that was preserved from the previous venue—further heightening the up-close and personal experience that has become a hallmark of TheatreSquared’s performances.

“Our design of TheatreSquared’s new building is inspired by the organization’s lofty ambitions, the region’s natural landscapes, and a vision for significant architecture from the overall team,” said Jonathan Marvel, Founding Principal, Marvel Architects. “It is an honor to collaborate with Charcoalblue with the support of the Walton Family Foundation Design Excellence Program, a force elevating the conversation about architecture and urban design in Northwest Arkansas.

This is the third project on which Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue have collaborated; most recently the complete redesign and transformation of the Lyric Theatre in New York, home for the North American premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and St. Ann’s Warehouse, an internationally recognized, state-of-the-art theatre that adapts in multiple configurations allowing for complete flexibility for performances, events and programs.

“As a long-term collaborative partner, it’s been a joy to have Marvel Architects’ inspirational input on our team for TheatreSquared,” said Andy Hayles, Group Chair, Charcoalblue. “Building on our portfolio of work together at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and the Lyric Theatre on Broadway their ingenuity, skill and commitment have been intrinsic to creating this stunning new theatre for a stunning theatre company.” 

TheatreSquare’s palette of exposed materials was selected for its ability to act as a structure and acoustic isolator, and as interior and exterior finishes that recalls the rugged nature of the surrounding Ozark region. Furniture was constructed out of trees felled from the site, local Ozark boulders were embedded into the landscaping, and local pine was used to make the board-form concrete walls, which was then recycled and used as an interior finish. The charring of the wood on the exterior creates a natural protective coating with an expected lifetime of 50 years or longer. A limited material palette was used with priority given to durability, flexibility, and the building’s technical and performance systems.

Acoustic isolation and integrity were part of the major design challenges of the project. Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue addressed this issue by designing a system of structural concrete volumes for the acoustically sensitive performance spaces that are independent and isolated from the remainder of the steel-framed building. This design solution allows for multiple performance activities to occur in the building simultaneously, without compromising the acoustic integrity of any of the spaces.

To meet the current needs of TheatreSquared’s operations and the projected future uses of their campus, Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue incorporated a high-level of flexibility into many of the spaces within the building. The scenic shop was designed to be directly adjacent to the West Theatre so that the stage has the capability of increasing in size to accommodate larger productions by opening an oversized acoustic sliding partition into the shop space. Both the larger West Theatre and the Spring Theatre contain flexible stage and seating rake elements that permit many different stage and seating configurations for different types of productions to take place. Various interior and exterior public spaces are designed to accommodate overflow and impromptu smaller performances and readings with the inclusion of bleacher and tiered seating elements integrated into other design features of the building. 

New performance spaces are organized towards TheatreSquared’s active exterior street. This concept allows the performance spaces to receive natural daylight when possible, and also provides discreet glimpses on the street of the artistic endeavors taking place inside. The placement of these performance volumes around a central, multi-story transparent public space—the ‘core’ of the building—creates opportunities for engaging patrons, artists, staff, students and the public.

“In addition to extending TheatreSquared’s production and educational capacities, the new building also plays a significant role in extending the arts and cultural program of the city as a whole,” said Lissa So, Founding Partner, Marvel Architects. “The building opens to the street and invites the public in, serving as a ‘living room’ for the city and its emerging Cultural Corridor.”

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About TheatreSquared

TheatreSquared creates nationally acclaimed productions that reach 50,000 patrons each year and has a significant educational outreach program that gives students across the region access to live performances and leading arts-based learning tools. In 2011, TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation’s ten most promising emerging theatres. www.theatre2.org

About Marvel Architects

Marvel Architects is a solutions-driven design practice that integrates context and nature into every project, meeting each design challenge by listening to its surroundings. The result is a thoughtful design that inspires users to remember what was there before and to marvel at what it has become. With offices in New York and San Juan, Marvel is an international firm dedicated to creativity and diversity. From affordable housing and cultural institutions to high-end residential and hospitality, Marvel sees every project as an opportunity to create spaces of engagement. www.marvelarchitects.com


Current projects include solar deployments in Puerto Rico; a 40-story luxury residential tower in downtown Brooklyn; a YMCA of the future in the Bronx; Ingersoll Senior Residence in Brooklyn, the largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing development in the country; new facilities for the Wild Bird Fund in the Bronx; and the revitalization of El Portal Visitor’s Center in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest System.

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Brien McDaniel
Marvel Architects

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