Through dance, singing, theatre, and visual arts, the Arts and Communications Magnet Academy (ACMA) educates the next generation of artists in Beaverton, OR. This publicly funded organization is committed to academic and artistic excellence, but for decades, their facilities in an old airplane hangar could neither meet their program needs nor live up to their ideals: It lacked performance space, art galleries, and back-of-house areas, a Quonset hut held their lunchroom, and their sole gallery was a small classroom.
Integrating interior design and architecture within our core concept of “performance before the performance,” our design gives ACMA the premier performance facility in the district. Their new facility includes a theater that’s physically smaller than many other school auditoria but outfitted with over $1 million in lighting and sound systems for true pre-professional training. Two new performance spaces, three art galleries, and a green room completely transform ACMA’s campus.
With over 200 dance students, ACMA's new facility had to accommodate not only a stage and wings to meet their needs, but back-of-house for so many performers. Our solution is a secondary black box performance space that holds up to 80 people for performances and serves as a large green room for dance productions.
The West Gallery is the largest of ACMA’s new art galleries. Large windows showcase student work, manifesting the school’s “show the world what we do” directive. The 150’ long West Gallery is rhythmically punctuated by north-facing offsets that create “eddies” with custom display and acoustic dividers; these, along with a mesh divider, break up the inside space and reduce the noise of multiple simultaneous classes. Multiple video screens and three types of display systems offer plenty of space for student art.
Another gallery space is the main lobby area, through which patrons move to reach the 400-seat main stage. Despite the gallery height, our careful acoustic treatment creates an environment quiet enough for classes, receptions, and concerts. Heading to the main stage, performance-goers enter a constricted vestibule that builds anticipation before expanding to reveal the main stage, saturated in red—a beautiful yet simple transitional detail that expresses ACMA’s passion for the arts.
We achieved near-perfect acoustics by carefully using reflective clouds, absorptive panels, and second-level drapery. The black box theatre’s inherently adjustable nature responds to nearly every musical and dramatic need, and it's outfitted with professional equipment for technical training at all levels, from a full fly with catwalks to robotic lighting operated with sophisticated software.