Projects   Building Types Study - Performing Arts
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Stevie Eller Dance Theatre
Gould Evans

A variety of collaborations inspired the design and construction of this Dance Theatre

© Tim Hursley

For more photos click on 'photos & drawings' above.

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In an effort to express movement within the architecture of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, the architects chose the three-dimensional mobius strip as the form-generating device for the inside and outside of the building. The exterior’s woven wire mesh fabric rolls across the facade and becomes the ceiling plane that moves to become the volumetric form of the 300-seat house. The outside surface becomes the inside volume and is read as one continuous form.

To learn about dance, the architects immersed themselves in the idea of movement. They acquired the "labanotation" (the notation for graphically representing dance) and score for a piece called Serenade, George Ballanchine’s first ballet written for the students of the American Ballet. The architects then overlaid the "plans" of the starting positions for each movement of Serenade and created a matrix from which emerged the "grid" of tilted columns that support the glass-encased dance studio on the building’s second floor. The columns are not completely vertical, they are what the architects call "dancing columns."

The dance studio is a glass box that makes the students visible to the outside both day and night. An exterior wall of the women's dressing room is punched with two frosted glass garage doors that open when the dressing rooms are utilized as a classroom.

During the project, builder and architect collaborated on ideas. The form-generating concepts of the building inspired the steel workers to study the architects’ diagrams and create beautiful, wire-framed drawings. The steel-workers became part of the creative process and the result is a "built work of art that works."

Formal name of Project:
Stevie Eller Dance Theatre at the University of Arizona


Gross square footage:
28,600 sq. ft.

Total construction cost:
$9 million

University of Arizona College of Fine Arts,
School of Music and Dance

Gould Evans
3136 North Third Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602)234-1140 tel
(602)234-1156 fax


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