A performing arts center on the Potomac

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The nature of Architecture, as it could exist at the edge of a river, was investigated through the design of a Center for Performing Arts located on the design of a Center for Performing Arts located on the Potomac River. Site analysis, functional requirements and structural feasibility were among the considerations utilized in arriving at the proposed design.

The Center is comprised of three theaters, restaurants, a marina, administration offices, guest suites, and their ancillary spaces. Six stair towers support a thick wall which is situated at the river’s edge. Stage areas for the theatres were located within the wall between pairs of towers, with seating on one side of the wall and backstage areas on the other. A serpentine “riverwalk” connects the towers and four plazas, encouraging public use of the river’s edge. Parking is provided by a crescent-shaped garage which also serves as a buffer to the adjacent expressway traffic.