With the topping out ceremony taking place last weekend and Denver Art’s Week underway, the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is our showcase design of the week. The 15,730 sq. ft. building will consist of a large black box theater, a smaller intimate theater, public performance areas, administrative offices, rehearsal and educational spaces, reception lobby and bar, and several art and exhibition areas. The project represents a shared vision between The Lake Dillon Theatre Company (LDTC) and the Town of Silverthorne to cultivate art and arts education and provide a stronger cultural identity for Silverthorne.
“We are imagining a future where Silverthorne’s musical performances, theatrical offerings, lectures, celebrations, artist endeavors, and historical exhibits will define the town in equal measure with parks, trails, open space, and recreation.”
-Ryan Hyland, Town Manager
With regular sold out shows and a maximum capacity of 70 people, The LTDC sought to expand their facilities as they had clearly outgrown their original space in nearby Dillon, Colorado. While searching for a new location, they happened upon an exciting proposal from Silverthorne, just a few miles from Dillon. Between LDTC and the Town, there was a common initiative to create a cultural epicenter for Summit County and expand upon the theater as an all-encompassing cultural hub with room for art, music, dance, performance, and educational programs.
Our design team has embraced both Silverthorne and LDTC, bringing into focus how to best achieve the goal of enriching the community. The Town has approached the project with flexibility, working with OZ closely to review the intent of the design guidelines for a better build. The OZ team also attended performances by the LDTC to get a first-hand view of the magic the theater brings to the area and solidified the collaboration with Executive Director, Josh Blanchard, and Artistic Director, Christopher Alleman, to help identify the theater’s needs and design solutions. Building these partnerships has helped OZ to develop a design that will take the cultural identity of the community to the next level. The OZ team was in need of a reference tool to help sharpen our vision, this came in the form of a Playbill. The three ‘Acts’ of the Playbill helped identify the overall vision and set a design foundation for the project while aligning with a strategic re-branding of the community. They playbill served as a creative guide through the design/build process.
The main attraction of the new facility is a black box theater with the capacity to seat 110-198 guests and the ability to modify the space for various performances and events. The creative freedom that comes with the black box theater style is truly unique with the stage, seating, and lighting all movable based on the type of performance and the audience size. The SPAC will have four main layouts to choose from in this main space. A second theater that seats 70 provides a more intimate setting for smaller performances and doubles LDTC’s previous capacity to offer only one show at a time by allowing two performances to run concurrently.
Incorporating the educational objectives, the SPAC includes two theater labs that also serve as classrooms for the community. One of the labs is configured as an orchestral pit, with monitors that feed to the room from the stage so the conductor and musicians can keep in synch during performances. The second lab will be used for a multitude of creative classes with everything from theater studies and musical lessons, to dance lessons and art classes for adults and youth. The second lab will also serve as another performance venue with 35 seats, taking the number of theaters to three in the building and offering the most intimate experience.
The LDTC incredibly produces each element of their performances in-house; therefore, the facilities include several operational back-of-house areas including designated space for costume and set design, rehearsal space, administrative offices, and a prep kitchen to support catered events for both the theater and the community. The building is equipped with wireless technologies and plenty of conduits for convenience and reliability arranging lighting, music, or special effects. The facilities were built with growth in mind, providing the opportunity for expansion.
Furthermore, there will be a plethora of publicly accessible event spaces both indoor and outdoor. The outdoor areas will accommodate summer music, theater performances, and rented events such as weddings and community programs, while the indoor lobby area can host art exhibitions and short pre-performance programs. Throughout the facility, there are designated areas reserved for artwork including sculptures, wall pieces, and installations.
OZ designed the exterior of the building using clean lines, a welcoming canopy, and a glass enclosed lobby allowing pedestrians to see the bustle within. The design is both elegant and approachable, using a variety of textures to keep the eye moving and reflect the mountain environment. Pairing a dramatic charred black wood with natural tones of stone and light wood, the exterior reflects the intrigue of the stage while the warmer tones bring a familiarity that compliments the rest of the community.
The new SPAC will be a catalyst of creativity for Silverthorne as well as Summit County. It will be the latest project in Silverthorne’s strategic vision to further establish the town as a vibrant cultural hub. The area has already seen a domino effect in the early stages with properties becoming more desirable as the SPAC promises to define a cultural center for Summit County. OZ is honored to be a part of this project and has embraced this great opportunity to revitalize the community through a modernized and activated theater and educational space. The collaborative and cohesive vision for the SPAC will foster creativity and provide inspiration and education for generations of Summit County residents.
Photo: SPAC Groundbreaking Ceremony – April 2016