Revery Architecture Inc.

Revery Architecture Inc.

Vancouver, BC, CA


Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater

The design of the new Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater was inspired by the vision of Molly Smith, Arena’s Artistic Director, for ‘a theatre for all that is passionate, exuberant, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit.’ Building on Arena’s illustrious history and close relationship with the SW Washington community, the re-invented Arena Stage effectively doubles the facility allowing for state-of-the art technology and modern amenities. This includes: spacious workspaces for rehearsals, set design and construction; classrooms for education programs; expanded office space; community gathering spaces; a spacious centralized lobby, box office, and concessions; underground parking; and the restoration and preservation of the two existing historic theatres, the Fichandler, Arena’s original theatre-in-the-round, and the Kreeger Theater. In addition, a new 200-seat experimental theatre, the Kogod Cradle, was designed as an incubator of new plays. The design reflected Arena’s interest in providing a sophisticated environment but with an intimacy that would nurture the development of experimental theatre. The design team created a long circular ramp to take patrons on a slow and quieting journey from the grand lobby and to the intimacy of the Cradle. Both the oval form of the Cradle and the use of wood as the main material reinforce the design intent while the ‘basket weave’ treatment to the wood walls inside the room allowed for the acoustic diffusion in the room.

A dramatic roof and glass structure encompass the three theatres and offer views of the adjacent Washington Channel and Washington Monument. Through careful site design and bold sculpting of the structures, a renewed image for the neighbourhood has been created that fosters public activities in and around the buildings. The project has been a catalyst in the community, spurring redevelopment and a rejuvenation of the neighbourhood.

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Status: Built
Location: Washington, DC, US
Firm Role: Architect