Planning for Higher Education Journal

Planning the Successful Performing Arts Facility

Journal Cover
From Volume 18 Number 3 | 1989–1990
By Wendell Brase

This study identifies causes of failure in the design of campus performance facilities and summarizes planning and project management strategies that have resulted in successful projects. Failure consists mainly of cost overruns, functional nonperformance, and user disappointment. These instances of failure are most often attributed to programming rather than design. Common programming problems are placed in the following categories: (1) "Expectations too vague," (2) "Lack of architectural program detail," (3) "Unwillingness to understand compromises," (4) "Misunderstanding the economics of audience size," (5) "Understanding the impact of site on budget," (6) "Making the smaller facility less versatile," (7) "The expense of 'statement' lobbies," and (8) "Value engineering begins too late." Common design problems are also discussed and are placed in the following categories: (1) Internal zoning, (2) HVAC problems, (3) Poor analysis of site lines, (4) Inspection problems, and (5) Client noninvolvment in trade-offs. Within each of these categories, more specific examples are given and suggestions made. The article is based on the author's presentation at SCUP-24 in Denver, Colorado, on July 24, 1989.

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