University of Dubuque Heritage Center of Performing Arts

Client: University of Dubuque – Dubuque, IA
Square Feet: 80,000
Completion Date: March 2013
Awards/Publications: 2013 Design Excellence Award – American Schools and University’s
2014 Master Builders of Iowa – Best construction project above $10 million
2013 Excellence in Concrete Award
People’s Choice Award

The University of Dubuque unveiled the Heritage Center, with ‘Art by Osmosis’ as the theme, inviting people of all walks to happen upon Art in its myriad forms, intentionally and accidentally, in their work, study, recreation, and entertainment.

At approximately 80,000 square feet, the Heritage Center blends with existing campus architecture in a new and playful way. The exterior’s flowing organic forms continue to the interior, with serpentine pathways, free-form finish elements and curvilinear gathering and work places. The building exudes artistic expression in and of itself, from afar and from within.

Primary functions include a casual student center and formal public areas, with overlaps meant to encourage interaction and interest.

Student spaces include a Café / Commons; a Convenience Store; Mike and Betty’s ice cream parlor; the campus mail/copy/print center; and offices for faculty and student life. Classrooms occur throughout, and include a computer/music composition lab, visual (fine) arts classroom, choral music classroom, and numerous practice and rehearsal rooms. Group study and seminar rooms are thoughtfully and conveniently located along the main ‘street’.

Public spaces include a 1000-seat Main Hall and lobby; a 200-seat black box theater and auditorium space; and art gallery. The Main Hall can accommodate campus, local, regional and national troupes in music, dance, public speaking, and drama, along with instruction.

The audience seating is comprised of numerous ‘vineyard’ seating platforms, balcony tiers, and boxes, with uncompromised views and acoustics, and to be able serve the smallest to the largest performance.

The black box theater is malleable to accommodate thrust and arena performance settings, as well as lecture and public address events.

Careful attention has been given to energy efficiency throughout, including the building envelope, electrical, and mechanical systems.