Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish selected Wilson Butler Architects to plan and design a new Cultural Arts District, the centerpiece of which will be a 1000-seat performing arts center. Nestled into the magnificent landscape along the banks of the Tchefuncte River, the multifaceted development will provide the region with a cultural arts destination with the capacity to host touring musical groups, performing arts companies, local artists and large-scale exhibition events. The master plan also incorporates an arts education component to foster arts learning and experiences for residents in St. Tammany Parish. An outdoor amphitheater, hotel, nature trails, and the children’s museum are all part of the multi-phase long term vision for the District.
“This Cultural Arts District will invigorate the economy here in St. Tammany Parish, add another essential component to our exceptional quality of life, enhance arts education, and provide a place that will create jobs and commerce,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “By selecting Wilson Butler Architects to lead the design and planning, we are confident that we will provide a beautiful home for the arts and a place that will translate to a profound generational impact.”
Wilson Butler Architects, together with New Orleans-based associate architects studioWTA, specialty consultants Fisher Dachs Associates (theater) and Talaske | Sound Thinking (acoustics) and the St. Tammany Parish Government team, are now working on the program verification and concept design phase for the Cultural Arts District, drawing on the findings of a 2014 feasibility study (prepared by AMS Planning & Research) and input from user groups, the public, and other stakeholders. Programming is expected to include live concerts spanning all musical genres, festivals, art exhibits and theatre performances.
“Given that most performing arts centers are urban, working with such a pristine site – the unblemished land, the trees, the wetlands – presents a remarkable opportunity to responsibly combine nature and the arts,” said Scott Wilson, Director of Wilson Butler Architects. “With this talented design team and the invaluable input from the Parish leadership, we believe we can create an arts center that will be cherished for the next 100 years.”
The first phase of the project includes construction of the 70,000 square foot performing arts center, featuring a 1000-seat auditorium with box seats, a proscenium stage, orchestra shell and pit, full back of house capabilities, – a lobby and sponsors amenities (both with direct connection to the natural landscape), administrative space, and a catering kitchen with food service support space. The projected cost of the Performing Arts Center is $50 million, and is expected to be completed in 2020.