Taking its cue from a multilevel site, Diller Scofidio Renfro designed the new Granoff Center at Brown University to be terraced inside and out. The northern and southern portions of the building are offset by a full half-floor, allowing for sight lines through the glass shear wall separating the two halves of the building. To allow spaces to function as dance rehearsal rooms and as projection venues, the façade features blackout curtains and Mechoshade scrims on the interior and automatic venetian blinds from Nysan on the exterior to help control light levels.
The V-grooved pleats appear like gathered fabric as the panels narrow to reveal bands of glazing that expose the back-of-house spaces. An elevator core is placed outside the main floor plate and wraps up the east façade and up onto the roof plane.
The building is clad in a combination of glazing and CNC-milled zinc composite panels, which start flush against the building where they frame the glazed front façade, and then transition into three-dimensional pleats as they move back toward the rear.
The ground-floor recital hall seats 218 and is acoustically tuned for live performances, but can also be used to screen films and as a lecture space. That flexible use of space continues on the fourth floor, with production spaces that can serve as dance studios, galleries, and projection spaces.
The floors are physically connected by a central stair with informal meeting spaces (termed living rooms) at each landing.
The north and south wings are visually connected through the glass shear wall that separates them: Production 1 looks up into Production 2, and down into the multimedia room on the floor below.