Shawmut celebrated a virtual topping-off ceremony of Brown University’s under-construction Performing Arts Center at 130 Angell Street in Providence on December 10. The project began in 2019 and is slated to be completed in spring 2023.
Shawmut, in partnership with internationally acclaimed architecture firm REX, is completing the state-of-the-art, 94,000 square-foot complex that will anchor a future campus arts district and expand the possibilities for the creation and staging of experimental, collaborative, and engaged performance work. With an unparalleled approach to spatial, acoustic, and technical flexibility, the Performing Arts Center will feature a dynamic main performance hall, a central lobby and promenade as well as customizable spaces to create, rehearse and perform.
“We’re proud to continue our partnership with Brown University and create a building that will push the boundaries of innovation in performance spaces across the globe,” said Ron Simoneau, executive vice president of education at Shawmut. “Through an innovative and collaborative project delivery, we’re building a facility that is technologically sophisticated, highly flexible and one-of-a-kind in higher education.”
Designed to offer unmatched flexibility, the building’s main performance hall will be able to transform into any of five vastly different stage and 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. The shoebox-shaped hall can modulate physically and acoustically and will feature components such as seating gantries, acoustic curtains, reflector panels and lighting bridges that can be shifted, hidden and stretched to configure the space. With the capability to move walls, floors, seats, ceiling and lights, the Performing Arts Center will become an ultra-adaptable hub for Brown and surrounding communities.
On its exterior, the building will feature an aluminum rainscreen that will appear to shift in color and pattern with seasonal changes and time of day. Inside, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Lobby will create a central convening space that sits within the building’s horizontal clearstory, slicing through the façade at stage level to enable performances, rehearsals and arts scholarship to extend into the Brown campus and surrounding neighborhood. Below street level, the complex will offer spaces for theater, music and dance that will enable students and faculty to create cutting-edge, original artwork and include areas for student groups and other collaborative activities.
“We’re here to recognize the hard work underway each and every day by the teams of dedicated professionals who support this project,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson at the virtual event on December 10. “This celebration is about all of you... especially all of the skilled men and women who are quite literally bringing this remarkable vision to life.”
Work on the Performing Arts Center has been able to continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the firm’s world-class safety program, Shawmut has deployed enhanced safety protocols to mitigate the risk of infectious disease spread across all jobsites — rolling out new procedures, jobsite innovation and an exhaustive COVID-19 risk assessment and response plan nationwide. These protocols are implemented at the project site and include Shawmut Vitals — a custom technology platform which allows team members to self-certify daily health screenings by scanning a job-specific QR code and completing a health survey.
To optimize efficiency, the project is utilizing Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) — an approach that brings the university, Shawmut, REX and subcontractor teams together to execute all phases of the project, resulting in an effective and highly collaborative planning, design and building process.