Roschel Performing Arts Center

Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA

Project Details

Completed 2003
42,000 sf
$9.8 million

Kliment Halsband Architects

The home of the department of theater, dance, and film consists of a constructed wing joined to a renovated former swimming pool building. The wing houses a 305-seat theater, lobby, scene shop, and mechanical spaces. In the renovated building are dance studios, classrooms, a costume shop, a video production room, and miscellaneous back-of-house functions. There are two marquee entrances: one from the plaza and the public street and the other from the campus and the principal campus parking lot. Both entrances are handicapped accessible. At the plaza entrance there is a new terrace shared with the student center café. The defining elements of the wing are the curved arcade that connects the renovated dance studios to the student center and, rising behind the arcade, the rectangular, barrel-vaulted enclosure of the theater. Between them they form the skylit lobby that overlooks the plaza and serves the buildings around it. The arcade is made of brick and cast stone, with painted aluminum windows. The theatre enclosure is faced with beech paneling in the lobby and with painted aluminum paneling above the lobby roof. The seating of the theater slopes down from lobby level to the stage. There are catwalks over the seating and the stage. The clerestory windows over the seating can be blacked out and the orchestra pit can be converted to a thrust stage. The scene shop, which has windows and skylights, adjoins the stage and has direct access to the loading area and service drive; the stage is at the same level as the scene shop, the green room, the dressing rooms, and the seating crossover aisle. The dance studios in the renovated pool building take advantage of the high ceilings and large windows to provide airy, naturally lit spaces. The glazed corridor that adjoins the dance studios serves as a student gathering place that overlooks the plaza and connects to the theater lobby.