Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1995

Conceived in the tradition of the great Broadway theaters, this 1,800-seat theater occupies a compact urban site located mid-block. On the street façade, the stone base of the building is inset with the gently arching volume of the auditorium within. A metal cladding of small-scale shingles reflects the sky, and evening neon glow. At the south end of the façade, a five-story glass cone marks the entrance to the theater, its base performing a canopy marquee over the street, and its volume parting the opaque street wall to light and reveal the sequence of curving stacked lobby spaces within. A glowing landmark by night and a vertical window by day, the pinnacle of the cone breaks the cornice line of the façade. At the north end of the elevation, an arch framing the stage becomes an electronic marquee in the skyline, announcing upcoming events to the city. The public sequence through the theater begins at the street-level entrance lobby and its series of dramatic stairs filling a grand skylit oval atrium. A faceted four-story mirrored wall rises with the curving stair, breaking and reflecting the activity of three upper lobbies served by bars and lounges for the orchestra and balconies. The auditorium has an intimate dress circle and balcony; the farthest seat from the stage is 90 feet from the stage. The glass cone and a continuous glazed slot facing south introduce daylight and views of the surrounding city to matinee crowds, and project the interior scene of theater-goers over the nighttime street.

Project Type: Cultural

Client: Live Entertainment of Canada, Inc.

Cost: $18 million

Size: 60000


Associate Architect - Downs/Archambault & Partners