Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland
Our competition-winning design for this Performing Arts Center establishes a new campus gateway and celebrates a broad range of arts education, while providing students and the public with world-class spaces for performance. Configured as an “academic village” on seventeen acres, the Center is organized around open spaces and courtyards shaped to establish points of entry, enhance views, and provide a variety of social and activity spaces. Performance halls, departmental entries, lounges and the library are given strong readings within the whole, while support areas are expressed more quietly. A grand processional sequence moves from the entry plaza through a clerestory-lit interior street of performance halls, and on to a restaurant and dining court. Along this grand and celebratory sequence, each major hall has a strong identity with its own portico.
The performance spaces, which include a 1,200 seat concert hall, a 350 seat recital hall, a 650 seat proscenium theater, and a 200 seat dance studio, are shaped to encourage a close relationship between every member of the audience and the performers. Each space has the potential for “tuning” or variable acoustics, with its basic geometry set to the most demanding acoustical response required. While the primary exterior material of the buildings is brick to connect with campus tradition, the interactions of shape, pattern, color, materials and landscape are used in a contemporary language to express the evolution of the University.
Associate Architect: Ayers/Saint/Gross
Photography: Werner Huthmacher