Photo by Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

The $100-million, 130,000-sq-ft Center for the Arts was developed as part of an effort to enhance the presence and practice of the arts at Virginia Tech. The project features a fully renovated Shultz Hall and new building additions, which house the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre and the Collaborative Performance Lab, known as The Cube. The Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre is a six-story, 1,300-person multipurpose performance hall with a nine-story fly space. The three-story Cube is a modified black box theater and experimental performance space.

Shultz Hall was demolished to its shell before being outfitted with performance, research, production and educational spaces. Mechanical acoustical features include low-velocity ductwork to control noise in auxiliary spaces and an under-floor air distribution system to minimize sound and provide comfort. This was constructed in an existing building that previously had minimal air conditioning and low floor-to-floor heights.

STV's structural and plumbing designers created a facility with no-sound transmissions from the theater's bathrooms into its performance space. That was achieved by using a jack slab that isolates the floor slab from the plumbing fixtures and piping and from the rest of the building.

The complex was originally designed to obtain LEED Silver certification, but the team was able to achieve enough points for LEED Gold. Sustainable design and construction elements include the recycling of 96% of construction waste; use of construction materials containing recycled content; and use of regionally manufactured materials. Sixty percent of all wood products in the building came from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests. Potable water usage was reduced by more than 40%.

Higher Education/Research: Award of Merit - Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Key Players

General Contractor Holder Construction

Lead Design Firm Snøhetta

Structural/MEP Engineer STV

Civil Engineer Thompson & Litton

Acoustics and Performance Sound/Video and Communications Systems ARUP

Theater Design/Consultants Theater Projects Consultants

Specialty Lighting Tillotson Design Associates

Cost Consultant Davis Langdon

Food Service Programming Porter Khouw Consulting