This project was the runner up in an invited competition. This community arts center, comprised of a 500-seat theater, a 200-seat Black Box theater, art galleries, and a cinema, would energize the shoreline of the newly created Rio Salada Lake in Tempe, Arizona.
The building form is designed by Hodgetts + Fung to complement the area's sculptural landforms, whose configurations are pivotal to overall site development. Centered on connections, the vision for the Rio Salado Park provides both a place for respite and celebration of water and history, as well as a spatial system, which knits together city and desert, public space, and river.
Organized along a curving spine, and lying directly beneath the flight path of ascending aircraft, the project consists of two theaters, a gallery, a cinema, and art studios, which share a waterside, two-story lobby.
A glowing tower marks the main stage, which is designed to counter the airborne sound with a double, internally-illuminated glass skin. Copper-toned, and perforated with gill-like louvers, the exterior of the building alludes to Arizona's Indian culture as well as the nearby desert landscape. An adjacent outdoor space is envisioned as a vast festival plaza for art exhibitions, swap meets, public markets, musical performances and parades. A companion structure stands in the lake, just "off shore," and is linked to the esplanade by a short ramp. Pleasure barges designed as unique art works depart from this spot to offer diners floating treats.