PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for its new Creative Arts Center, 154 Angell St., on Friday, May 22, 2009, at 3:15 p.m. Designed by the internationally renowned architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, known for its work on the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Creative Arts Center will advance and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration between and among the arts, sciences, and humanities at Brown and beyond.
“I am eager to see the innovative research, creative experimentation, and fresh approaches to collaboration that will arise from the new spaces and programs provided by the Creative Arts Center,” Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons said.
Construction on the $40-million building is scheduled to begin in June 2009, and the building is slated to open in the spring of 2011. Brown alumni and parents have raised funds for the full project amount, including an endowment for the building’s ongoing operating and maintenance. Martin J. Granoff, a Brown parent and member of the Corporation, led the fundraising for the project.
“The Creative Arts Center will be phenomenal for Brown,” said Granoff. “ It will bring together the best and brightest students, taught by an extraordinary faculty, and give them a unique architectural environment designed for collaboration, experimentation and excellence in all of the arts.”
The 35,000-square-foot facility will feature a 200-seat recital hall and 35mm screening facility, three flexible production spaces, a recording studio, multimedia lab, technical shop, and a physical media lab for production and research in sensors, robotics, and physical computing. The building will also have individual project studios, an art gallery, “smart” classrooms, and “living rooms,” designed as breakout spaces for students and faculty along the main stairwell. Additionally, an outdoor amphitheater will be wired for sound and video, allowing outdoor performances, film screenings and installations.
“The Creative Arts Center will transform the way the arts interact across disciplines and advance innovative approaches to teaching, research, and production,” said Richard Fishman, professor of visual art and director of the Creative Arts Center at Brown. “The facility will provide the diverse groups of arts practitioners at Brown with a space specifically designed to encourage the exploration of cross-disciplinary collaboration, integration of new media, and the proliferation of artistic research and production.”
The Creative Arts Center will border The Walk, a series of linked green spaces that provide a connection between Brown’s historic campus and the Pembroke campus. According to the architects, “The building is made up of large uninterrupted floor plates with interior surfaces ranging from raw to refined. The building program utilizes three floor plates that fill the site envelope. These floor plates are cut in the short axis along a sheer line, and displaced in section to create six half-levels, each with different technical and physical properties. The structured misalignment is a sectional opportunity, allowing each floor to interface two others conjoined by a landing. ... The building fosters creative exchange throughout.”
To encourage the development of new courses and programs that will use the building, the Creative Arts Council is providing grants to Brown-based faculty through its Flexible Fund Program in support of projects including visiting artists, performances, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions, and its Lawton Wehle Fitt Artist-in-Residence Program in support of artists’ residences of one week or longer. Grants are also available for Brown faculty in support of new, interdisciplinary and/or intermedial courses in the arts.