City leaders in Sherwood had dreamed of a center for the arts and community events for 15 years before we helped make it a reality. Finally, with the perfect city collection of leaders, full support from the mayor, a passionate steering committee, and multiple bond funds to realize the project, our team led an approach that would fit their budget and designed a space to meet the collective needs of the community for generations to come.
To create a collective reflection of Sherwood’s personality and community needs, we facilitated an inclusive design process that considered the full range of project stakeholders. The local school, for one, needed a space for their blossoming theatre community to develop and showcase professional quality productions. Placing it in Old Town reinforced Sherwood’s identity as an urban center and viable destination for local businesses.
Our design provides plenty of space for performances and events to bring the community together. The center seats 392 for performances with 75% telescopic seating, and up to 248 for banquets. Two classrooms provide space for classes, training, and meetings, and a small kitchen serves concessions for catered events. Live-edge wood benches and wood trim throughout warm the spaces and give a nod to Sherwood’s industrial foundations in logging. Exposed steel and masonry echo the site’s history as processing plant for shipping fruit on the Portland rail line.
The mixed-use and multi-function nature of the Sherwood Center for the Arts ensures that both current and future generations have space to gather and celebrate the arts and life’s milestone moments. It integrates itself into the Old Town context, but also presents a fresh, modern take on a masonry civic structure. The building is a series of carefully crafted boxes that nestle around the main hall to manage the scale. The statement color palette of orange-red-tan-brown is both inviting and striking—a prelude to the art inside.
Ground-level retail provides a place for people to shop in the historic downtown. A small plaza creates an open, inviting place for people to enter the main building. People walk under a wide canopy outside into a light-filled lobby and gallery space. High north-facing windows honor historic Old Town structures and fill the Lobby/Gallery with natural light for art exhibits and events.
The first major production held by the local school in the new center was a production of Mary Poppins. The thrill of the new, professional-quality space brought over 80 people (an enormous amount, at the time) to participate in the first opening night. They took advantage of every inch of the center, a trend that continues to this day.