The Durham Performing Arts Center in North Carolina opened in 2008 at half the cost of other similar performing arts centers. Under budget and stunning, the theater has since become the heart and soul of the American Historic Tobacco campus in Durham, has helped rehabilitate the area and stimulated a number of other projects. Built on a former brownfield site and designed by Chapel Hill-based Szostak Design Inc., the DPAC also features energy efficient design and daylighting.
The DPAC is a 103,000 sf, 2,800-seat state of the art Broadway-style theater and was built for $46 million, which is said to be half of what other theaters are being built for. Located on a former industrial brownfield site, the DPAC was the first phase of a masterplan to renovate the downtown and historic Durham area in hopes of revitalizing the area. The DPAC connects a growing arts community with the downtown area and has spurred on the development of an eighteen-story county courthouse, a six-story design center, an upscale boutique hotel, and a multi-story, mixed-use residential and office development.
Energy efficiency played a large role in the design of the performing arts center, which features a large curtain wall with both clear and fritted glass. This multi-story glass wall allows for an amazingly day lit lobby and views of the Durham skyline. Orientation minimizes solar gain, but maximizes daylighting and an energy efficient natural ventilation systems bring in fresh air to the guests. High performance insulation also helps minimize energy use. The DPAC’s downtown location encourages pedestrian activity and a greater interconnectedness within the city overall.
Images ©Tom Arban