The City of Virginia Beach, VA opened a public design competition to replace its community theatre and fill a void in the region for a mid-size performing arts venue. The result was the new Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, a destination building that has ignited public enthusiasm and interest in the arts.
The gleaming new 86,000 sq. ft. facility features a luminous glass façade that wraps the front of the building and interfaces with approximately 33,000 sq. ft. of Citadel Envelope 2000® Rout and Return (RR) System metal composite material panels. The Citadel panels are finished in Silver Metallic.
“Going to this theatre is more than just attending a performance,” said Michael Ashe, design principal at CMSS Architects, Virginia Beach. “This is a world of sparkling glass and metal with forms rising to varying heights interspersed with flowing balconies that look to an exterior plaza.”
The 1,236-seat theatre was designed to maximize sightlines, accommodate a variety of performance types, create an intimate performance space and produce the best acoustical results possible. A smaller, multi-purpose studio theatre is also featured in addition to a 4,100 sq. ft. lobby on each of the three levels with complete amenities.
A defining component of the exterior design is a “lantern” tower, partially clad with Citadel metal composite material (MCM), that is illuminated from within. The tower is a reinterpretation of both the civic bell towers in medieval market squares and the classic theatre marquee, according to Ashe. “When performances are held, the lantern shines brighter, beckoning the community to come and enjoy the Arts,” Ashe explained.
CMSS Architects was familiar with Citadel products but went through an extensive review of various material options before making a decision. “We were looking for a balance of value and aesthetics,” said Ashe. “The Citadel panels juxtapose nicely with the brick and the glass and provide the silver glitter that we were looking for.”
Fabrication and installation of the Citadel rout and return system panels was done by Composite Wall Systems, Virginia Beach.