VMA Performing Arts Center, Pennsylvania Theatre Building, USA, American Architecture Photos

VMA Performing Arts Center in Pennsylvania

Apr 11, 2021

Joan and John Mullen Center for Performing Arts

Design: Voith and Mactavish Architects

Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

It’s curtains up at Villanova’s Joan and John Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, ready for the Fall/Winter 2022 performance season.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The building is the final project and centerpiece of a major redevelopment along Lancaster Avenue that transforms once-overlooked stretch into a new heart of student life at Villanova. The cultural center anchors the new district and complements Commons, a recently-completed complex (also designed by VMA) that adds 1,100 beds of student accommodations, storefront retail spaces, and a network of landscaped gathering places.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

For the Performing Arts Center, VMA combined a full suite of performance venues and educational spaces into a single building, creating a destination cultural hub for the University and the surrounding community. The center equips Villanova to host a range of productions and events, offering everything from state-of-the-art theaters, rehearsal spaces, and reception halls for catered gatherings.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The 85,000-square-foot building includes three major performance venues: a 400-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat black-box theater, and a 75-seat Performance Lab for more intimate and experimental productions.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The proscenium theater features a full fly loft and an elegantly curved balcony that embraces the stage and its gold curtain. The black-box theater accommodates performances in end-stage, thrust, or arena formats thanks to reconfigurable seating. Each of the spaces is outfitted with the latest theatrical lighting and acoustic technologies, allowing the University to host even the most technically sophisticated productions.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The building also arrays a range of educational and support spaces. Fully-equipped production shops allow sets and costumes to be made on-site. Dressing rooms, a green room, a choral room and dance studio, and two flexible classrooms support stage productions. Offices on the second and third floors accommodate faculty, the production manager, building manager, and other department staff.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The sweeping lobby is supported by a full catering kitchen and can host receptions and special events. Full-height windows overlooking the prominent intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Ithan Avenue open the building to the surroundings. On performance nights, the curving lobby—lit by custom chandeliers—will glow like a beacon.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

The facade is a contemporary interpretation of the “Villanova Gothic” aesthetic that defines the surroundings, including the nearby Commons Student Housing. Masonry panels were produced off-site for more efficient construction, with each stone carefully positioned to be visually cohesive, capped by cast stone accents. Traditional gabled roofs on either end of the building contrast with the curving main entrance.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA designed the theater spaces and served as Architect of Record for the entire project. Robert A.M. Stern Architects designed the facade and lobby.

The building is on track for LEED Silver certification.

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

VMA Performing Arts Center in Villanova, Pennsylvania – Building Information

Architect: Voith and Mactavish Architects

Theatre spaces designer & architect of record: Voith and Mactavish Architects
Facade and lobby designer: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Size: 85,000 sf
Budget: $37 million
Completed: 2021
Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA

VMA Performing Arts Center Pennsylvania

Photos: Ramsa

VMA Performing Arts Center in Pennsylvania images / information received 110421

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