Project File: Fine arts building opens

After many years of design, planning and financing, the Fine Arts Building at the University of California, Riverside, opened. The building is a combination of five schools — art history, dance, music, studio art, and theatre — the entire arts program.

The design gives the interior and exterior equal attention, while merging the flow of outdoor courtyards and display space to indoor theaters and workspace by connecting the building and landscape. The building will advance the quality of art education on the campus through the variety of technology and collaboration among the art departments in the UC system.

Students can choose from a variety of outdoor settings in which to work or perform. Painting and sculpting studios provide varied volumes of overhead skylight and controlled temperatures. The studio theater, a black-box space for the department, is a flexible performance space. Painted black, the theater has computerized stage drops that make the audience feel that they are part of the room and the performance.

The performance lab, designed for music and theater, optimizes acoustics. A system of rotating panels was installed to reflect or absorb sound depending on their position. Flooring also isolates sound to protect adjacent space. For dancers, the same isolated wood floor absorbs movement, reducing physical stress.

Architect for the project is Barbara Callas of Israel Callas Shortridge Associates (Los Angeles) and Annie Chu of Chu + Gooding Architects (Los Angeles). Engineers for the project are Fields Devereaux Architects & Engineers (Los Angeles).

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