Photo by Patrick Coulie
V. Sue Cleveland High School Phase 2 - Fine Arts Center and Orchestra Hall

Best Cultural/Worship Project: V. Sue Cleveland High School Phase 2 - Fine Arts Center and Orchestra Hall

This truly modern performance space would be a notable addition to an arts complex in any major city. The fact that it is part of a public school campus makes it all the more impressive.

The project's centerpiece is a 1,100-seat orchestra hall showcasing the area's Sandia Mountains through a unique window that acts as a backdrop on the full-size stage. Productions are supported by an orchestra pit, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, a scene shop, green room and loading dock.

The space is ventilated from below using four ground-coupled heat pumps to pressurize an under-floor plenum with variable air volume diffusers to distribute conditioned air. The use of a long-span, deep-rib metal deck with concrete was an economical solution for supporting an acoustically reflective ceiling and providing noise isolation. The clean ceiling eliminates unwanted acoustical interruptions, and it has also allowed for the implementation of more sophisticated tunable elements. The result: a space that can be acoustically customized for different events, from symphony performances to lectures.

To manage the reverberation for each event, the acoustics are controlled by various sound-modifying parts that are manipulated by electronic controls. Reflectors above the stage rotate and move up and down, while panels anchored to rafters can be lowered to minimize the stage's ceiling height, in turn providing better acoustical conditions for intimate events.

A separate, 500-seat black box theater features curtains and a complex sound and lighting system accessible by catwalks. It also houses a production studio.