Ina E Gittings Complex Exp / Stevie Eller Dance Theatre


Expands the Ina E. Gittings complex for the School of Music and Dance, Dance Division. The facility includes a new performance dance venue, Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, of approximately 300 seats, studio and support spaces to the east of the existing Gittings facility.

Design Intent

This building is an integration of art, movement and architecture. The 300-seat theater is accompanied by space for support functions, studios, and teaching. Components include full flytower, control suite catwalks, box booms, orchestra pit, indoor/outdoor lobby, outdoor stage, and scene and costume shops. A divider separates dressing rooms on performance night and can be rolled up into the ceiling to transform the spaces into a somatics studio which opens to a courtyard. The dance studio is a glass box that celebrates the dance program and functions as a display window to the university mall. It is protected from the elements by a scrim of woven wire.

Project Number
Building Number(s)
Current Budget
Projected Ultimate Budget
Project Manager
Construction Project Manager
Construction Schedule
March 2002 - July 2003
C F Jordan Construction
Design Professional
Gould Evans Associates
Delivery Method

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The Gittings Complex Expansion is inspired by dance and movement. Its sustainable design is apparent in its materially and uniquely inherent in its form. A glass enclosed dance studio is supported by "dancing" steel columns above the entry porch and lobby. The studio's transparency takes tremendous advantage of natural daylight while also serving as a beacon to the UA mall and gateway entry. The dance studios south facing glass is protected from the summer sun by a deep overhang. The east glass is creatively protected from solar gain by a woven steel fabric. This fabric has been allowed to naturally oxidize and therefore requires no paint or other treatment. The fabric wraps from the exterior, where it provides opportunities for dramatic night event lighting, through the lobby and into the performance theatre. In the theatre, the sculpted shape becomes the acoustic form necessary for the performance hall.

Insulated glass encloses the lobby making it transparent to the public while it is deeply sheltered by the overhanging dance studio above. The ticket sales room has been constructed as a mobile and collapsible glass booth - allowing multiple uses of the same lobby and front porch areas.

The entry porch, which is sheltered by the overhanging studio, serves as pre-function space for events. The careful design of this space relative to the use of shade, lighting and tempering allowed for less enclosed lobby space to be built. This reduces the building's need for air conditioning and construction resources.

The dressing rooms have been creatively designed to double as a somatics (study of the physical body) and warm up space. Large glass overhead doors can be opened to expand the space to the outdoors and take advantage of temperate days thereby reducing the need to build more enclosed and conditioned space. The major building elements are constructed of eco-friendly materials such as steel, exposed concrete and concrete block. The systems and controls in the building are high efficiency and reduce the energy needed for operation.

Rainwater is collected in the healing garden spaces and planter areas, while this and the other open space are irrigated by reclaimed water and state of the art irrigation systems which monitor rainfall and need. Region specific plantings were selected for their drought tolerance and shading ability.

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