Project DescriptionFROM AIA SAN FRANICSCO:
Conceived as a new arts hub in a rapidly changing district near downtown Omaha, an experimental theatre opens to the city outdoors through a public open space anchored with a mixed-use building. Three related projects share an integrated half-block to transform the relationship of cultural facilities and public / private space towards a collective urbanism.
In its 25th-anniversary year the Blue Barn Theatre engaged the architects to design a new home for the experimental theatre company. The new building increases capacity while at the same time maintaining the upstart scrappiness and risk-taking ethos of the Blue Barn.
At the core of the Blue Barn is the theatre, a hybrid of proscenium and black box types. A large, custom door opens the backstage to a semienclosed outdoor performance area connecting to the open space.
This organization supports a variety of theatre configurations from the conventional proscenium to the less common alley theatre and environmental theatre forms. The remaining program is organized concentrically about the house and stage. Materials include burnished block, weathering steel cladding and a unique exposed rebar screen system.
Complementing the Blue Barn, Boxcar 10 combines a ground-floor restaurant and 3 loft-apartments with spectacular city views. Ground floor materials continue the theme established by the theatre. Above this plinth sits a mute black box containing the apartments.
Towards a collective approach team formation and embracing a loose approach to design, the architects commissioned 4 artists to design and install functional components of the building including the large stage door.