The 1000-seat theatre is used for a wide range of hosted events.
With enduring, simple materials of quality, the arts center was designed for flexibility.
Home to University’s art department, with permanent and traveling exhibition galleries, the gallery accommodates a variety of media.
Studio spaces are provided for painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, print-making and graphic design.
The building form was inspired by the campus' mountainous context.
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John W. Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center, Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
“Every time I walk through the facility, I am amazed at the elegance of the building and its functionality. The building has the ability to change one’s perspective on life.”

—Robert Kehrberg, Founding Dean, College of Fine and Performing Arts Western Carolina University

As one of the first new arts centers to be built in this region of North Carolina, the challenge of this program was to reach out to the larger vibrant arts communities in the Appalachian region. In addition to the traditional academic activities of the university faculty and students, the center engages artists, musicians, theatre groups, creative writers, folk artists and craft persons throughout the region. With a very strict public university budget, it was clear that every space needed to be ultimately flexible, with enduring, simple materials of quality.

The Arts Center houses performance facilities for music and theater students including a 1000-seat theatre, a 250-seat music rehearsal space, practice and ensemble rooms, and a dance studio. This facility is also home to University’s art department, with permanent and traveling exhibition galleries. Studio space, galleries and faculty offices are provided for painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, print-making and graphic design. Organized by an academic wing, with separate entrances for the museum and performance hall, the budget required a careful adherence to established benchmarks.

COMPLETION

2004

SIZE

120,000 SF

PHOTOGRAPHY

Western Carolina University

OTHER PROJECTS