University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
The Ent Center for the Arts is located on the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Campus, across from University Village and Nevada Avenue . A popular destination for recreation and visiting the area’s unique geological features, the creation of the 92,000-sq-ft facility Ent Center expands on the university’s visual and performing arts programming as well as the city’s options for cultural attractions and events.
The Ent Center for the Arts was developed out of a need to resolve a deficit with the local university having had outgrown its current facilities and make accommodations for projected growth while also creating linkages to arts programs located between both the university and the downtown community, and would work to stand on its own as a cultural center. H3 was commissioned with collaborative architect Semple Brown to design a facility that could house all of the desired programming and remain flexible for future use and expansion with the area rapidly growing.
The design brings together a dispersal of arts facilities into a single footprint and remains sensitive to the scenic beauty that surrounds it. The fluid form with an undulating façade reinforces the contiguous curves, forms, and rifts found in the landscape, from the banding of retaining walls and winding trails to echoing the characteristics of arroyos and peaks. The building anchors to the site as a campus gateway where visiting patrons are treated to breathtaking vistas and framed views of Pikes Peak from the moment they step into the main entry vestibule and in public areas.
The lobby serves to connect four performance venues and an art gallery. A 774-seat multi-faceted concert hall, outfitted with superior state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting can be reconfigured to 500 and 250 seats through a motorized, retractable stage. The Osbourne Studio is a flexible, black box theater accommodating up to 120. The facility gives a home to the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, a 200-seat theater connected to a recording studio, and the primary performance space for the nonprofit THEATREWORKS. A 245-seat recital hall expands the university’s music capabilities with larger format productions.
A 2,500-sq-ft transformable white cube and climate-controlled art gallery brings a second community organization to the site, the Gallery of Contemporary Art (GOCA), newly headquartered at the Ent Center, and with rotating exhibits from both professional and emerging artists. At both the northeast and northwest corners of the building are rehearsal rooms and classrooms for students. A working ‘edge’ was left to continue an expansion of current programming in a later phase. The building exemplifies an appreciation of the environment, and received LEED Gold certification.
Accolades: ENR Mountain State Best Project 2018
CLIENT: University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
SIZE: 92,000 Square Feet
COST: $70 million