New skin over old bones, the design retains the original structure, removing only portions of the roof framing to accommodate vertical clearances for theatrical and technical requirements. The enclosure system changes in form and material as it wraps the original concrete bearing walls.
Through adaptive reuse of a former warehouse and car dealership to a “black box” theater, the Lee Center fosters a creative exchange between academic and cultural neighbors within its inner-city neighborhood, engaging the pedestrian quality of 12th Avenue and distinguishing the center as an important public venue. The multi-purpose lobby/gallery space is positioned along the street rather than internal to the campus, allowing the façade to become progressively more transparent and distinct as it recedes from the campus entrance—culminating in a sculptural marquee and entry statement.
The vibrant visual qualities of the center's continuously changing activities become interwoven with the experience of the architecture. The lobby/gallery, intensely colored red sound baffle, and studio performance space are integral elements in the overall expression, embellishing the building’s purpose within the community.