Set in the grassy mountain meadows of Leavenworth, Washington, the new Snowy Owl Theater just opened its rustic doors for its first series of artistic performances. Designed by the team at Studio Meng Strazzara, this new 240-seat venue will provide the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts (ICCA) with space for speaker series, film festivals, theatrical performances, symphonic orchestras and much more. Thanks to its use of flexible spaces, this 11,300-square-foot “jewel box” of the Wenatchee Valley was able to limit its footprint while respecting the natural environment - and it's currently on track for LEED Silver certification.
The ICCA created the new Snowy Owl Theater due to its limited audience space and crowded event schedule at their current venues at their headquarters and the Sleeping Lady Resort. Multi-talented Pacific Northwest philanthropist and entrepreneur Harriet Bullitt was eager to help, and she secured funding for the ICCA. Bullitt, who is also the Director Emeritus of the ICCA, is very focused on conservation and sustainability – and she helped ensure that the new facility protects the landscape and environment.
Designed to resemble the rustic barns of the Northwest, the Snowy Owl Theater is one of the region’s most versatile venues of its size. The facility is flexible enough to transition into a concert hall, a theater and a special events space with the use of retractable seating and a reconfigurable 1,000-square-foot stage. Dennis Erwood, the education lead at Studio Meng Strazzara, even spoke to the design team’s intention to maximize flexibility in order to reduce the square footage of the building. Erwood says: “Not only did the building have a high performance envelope, LED theater lighting, and low water use, but we were able to design the building with less square footage than other similar theaters”.
It is great to see an innovative building that does not sacrifice the cultural aesthetics of its region. The Snowy Owl Theater honors the culture and design of the Wenatchee Valley. Daylighting is maximized through large two-story window walls, the building’s mechanical system is highly efficient, and the lobby of the theater includes stairs made from reclaimed wood from a World War II-era Boeing factory. Surrounded by mountains and the beautiful valley scenery of Leavenworth, the theater is a space where music and nature can merge to produce what Harriet Bullitt refers to as “the nurturing of the human condition”.
The grand opening of the Snowy Owl Theater is set to take place on April 27. More information can be found on their website. A sneak-peek of the facility can be seen on their recent promotional video.