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Shawmut Design and Construction Celebrates Topping-Off of Brown University’s Performing Arts Center

PROVIDENCE, RI — Shawmut Design and Construction, a construction management firm, celebrated a virtual topping-off ceremony of Brown University’s under-construction Performing Arts Center in Providence. The project began in 2019 and is slated to be completed in spring 2023.

Shawmut, in partnership with internationally acclaimed architecture firm REX, is completing the 94,000-square-foot complex that will anchor a future campus arts district and expand the possibilities for the creation and staging of experimental, collaborative, and engaged performance work. The Performing Arts Center will feature a main performance hall, a central lobby and promenade, as well as customizable spaces to create, rehearse, and perform.

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with Brown University and create a building that will push the boundaries of innovation in performance spaces across the globe,” said Ron Simoneau, Executive Vice President of Education at Shawmut. “Through an innovative and collaborative project delivery, we’re building a facility that is technologically sophisticated, highly flexible, and one-of-a-kind in higher education.”

The building’s main performance hall will be able to transform into any of five different stage and audience configurations — ranging from a 625-seat symphony orchestra hall to a 250-seat proscenium theater to a surround-sound cube for experimental media performance. The shoebox-shaped hall can modulate physically and acoustically and will feature components such as seating gantries, acoustic curtains, reflector panels, and lighting bridges that can be shifted, hidden, and stretched to configure the space. The building has the capability to move walls, floors, seats, ceiling, and lights.

On its exterior, the building will feature an aluminum rainscreen that will appear to shift in color and pattern with seasonal changes and time of day. Inside, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Lobby will create a central convening space that sits within the building’s horizontal clearstory, slicing through the façade at stage level to enable performances, rehearsals, and arts scholarship to extend into the Brown campus and surrounding neighborhood. Below street level, the complex will offer spaces for theater, music, and dance.

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To optimize efficiency, the project is utilizing Integrated Project Delivery — an approach that brings the university, Shawmut, REX, and subcontractor teams together to execute all phases of the project — resulting in an effective and collaborative planning, design, and building process.

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