Auburn University holding design event to help name architects for new performing arts center

Published: March 22, 2016
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Auburn University will host a design charrette March 30-April 2 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center to select the architectural firms for the new performing arts center, while fundraising for the project continues.

A design charrette is an intensive design session in which architects come together to collaborate on a design vision for a specific project, says University Architect Jim Carroll.

"We are going to bring in five local architectural firms and four national architectural firms to take part in this intensive four-day design process," Carroll said. "In addition to assisting in the recommendation of the design team, we hope this event will generate tremendous excitement for the performing arts center not only from the university, but also within the Auburn community."

Last year, the university received a $25 million gift from 1957 graduates John and Rosemary Brown to help construct a performing arts center. According to Jane DiFolco Parker, vice president for development and president of the Auburn University Foundation, the university seeks an additional $15 million to ensure the completion of the project.

"This is an exciting project and one that many people will want to be part of to ensure that the performing arts center comes to fruition and is an outstanding asset to Auburn," Parker said. "This facility will have a tremendous impact on both the university and the Auburn community."

Prior to the charrette, architects will be given a basic understanding of the university's vision for the performing arts center. Once the event begins, the four design teams will work to create design concepts. Teams will have access to two technical expert consultants: Scott Crossfield, a theater consultant, and Russell Todd, an acoustician.

During the event, university officials will observe how the architects work together to create a conceptual design. In addition, the public will be invited to observe from 6:30-8 p.m. on the evenings of March 30-31.

"The intent of this charrette is not to select a design for the performing arts center, but rather to select the architectural firms," Carroll said. "It is important that we see how these teams work together, and this four-day timeframe will give us a far better understanding of that than a typical interview."

The event will conclude on April 2 with a presentation session at which each team will share its designs with university officials.

"After the conclusion of the design charrette, we will prepare a recommendation to take before the Auburn University Board of Trustees for final approval during its April 8 meeting," Carroll said. "We expect to begin the design process immediately after the architects are approved."

The performing arts center is scheduled for completion in March 2019. As fundraising efforts continue for the center, naming opportunities will be identified that will allow donors to name performance and public spaces.