Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre

The Alliance Theatre, founded in 1968, is a Tony award-winning regional theatre located within the celebrated Woodruff Arts Center campus. The initial phase of work focused on the chamber, its lobby and artistic support facilities which were gutted to the original concrete enclosing walls. The transformation pulled the 650 seat chamber 10’ closer to stage. The planning of the chamber optimized site lines, utilized ramping in lieu of lifts and integrated stairs to provide access to all levels. Each surface was tuned acoustically to deliver world class theatre to its patrons.

The design team felt a responsibility to remove the separation between balcony and orchestra – challenging historic notions of segregation and discrimination. All seating zones can be accessed from every entrance within the chamber – a unifying planning feature of the Alliance Theatre Transformation.

Trahan Architects assembled a world class team to implement handcrafted steam bending techniques and artistry on an architectural scale. From concept to construction the project demonstrates innovation through collaboration between Artist, Architect, & Fabricator.

 

View full process video here.

Location
Atlanta, Georgia

Size
70,000 SF

Status
Estimated Completion Fall 2019

Project Team
Trey Trahan, Leigh Breslau, Scott Melançon, Brad McWhirter, Robbie Eleazer, Conway Pedron, Ayesha Husain, Sarah Hussaini, Wenyun Qian, Andrew Fu, Sarah Cancienne

Collaborators
Matthias Pliessnig, Uzun + Case, Theatre Projects Consultants, Talaske Group, DLB Associates Consulting Engineers, Cost+Plus, Fisher Marantz Stone, Thirst, Jensen Hughes, Lerch Bates

Awards
AIA Innovation Award, Development of Design or Design-Thinking, 2019
AIA Louisiana, Honor Award, 2019
R + D Award, ARCHITECT Magazine, 2019
AIA New Orleans Honorable Mention for Unbuilt Architecture, 2017

Tags
Featured , Cultural , Performing Arts , Artistry , Responsibility , Collaboration

My thought was, let’s dream big… and one thing we identified was a world-class theatre that welcomed everyone, that removed visible and invisible barriers. We had the courage of our aspirations. And the question became: How do we get there?

-Susan Booth, Alliance Theatre Artistic Director
Collaboration with sculptor Matthias Pliessnig

During the design phase for the Alliance Theatre Transformation, Trahan embarked on an artistic collaboration with renowned sculptor Matthias Pliessnig. This process elevated the shaping and tectonics of the chamber and lobby. The steam bending process perfected by Matthias allowed the architect to combine the precise digital modeling required by the acoustician, with the craftsmanship and beauty of the design vision. This collaborative process produced acoustically tuned forms that amplifies the artistry performed on the stage.

The final material system is a marriage of contemporary digital technology and time tested hand craft. The 1:1 mock up series produced by Matthias Pliessnig helped the design team test formal gestures within the theatre at the scale of furniture.

Finish testing for the steam bent millwork is conducted at 1:1 scale. Our team developed a work flow between the 3D model and the physical samples in order to iterate the color and quality of the finish. We chose an indicative location within one of the complex terrace shapes to explore the effects produced in the real world.

Advanced Fabrication by CW Keller

The fabrication work flow merged hand-crafted steam bending with augmented reality construction techniques such as 3D laser projection and photo laser scanning. The Architect developed scripting techniques to provide layouts of over 100,000 linear feet of oak millwork slat center lines to The Fabricator. The construction plans called for more than 200 customized panels representing nine design types, each type formulated to meet strict acoustic requirements.

Read more about Collaboration

This room will be beautiful at the end of construction, but will age to become even more beautiful as the wood ages and patinas. We hope that the geometry of wood surface draws you in and allows you to feel it as you move through the space.

-Trey Trahan

The walls and ceiling of the chamber and lobby are lined in solid stock wood. Each 1/2” x 1/2” riftsawn oak strand is sourced from fallen trees. Over time the wood will patina by use and human touch. It is finished in hand rubbed dye and fire proof finishing.

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