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DWL Architects


Mesa Arts Center

The Mesa Arts Center is a 212,755 square foot performing arts, visual arts and arts education facility, the largest and most comprehensive arts center in the state of Arizona.  Located on seven acres in the heart of downtown Mesa, the center reflects the city’s rich tradition of family, community and pride. Three buildings comprise four theaters: a 1,600-seat venue that hosts full-stage productions; a 550-seat repertory theater; a 200-seat playhouse; and a 99-seat black box theater. Each theater is an independent expression set off by differentiating color and form and linked by lobby space. The complex also includes 5,500 square feet of exhibition space in five galleries, and an arts education building with 14 studios and classrooms for community education and artists-in-residence.

Connecting the jagged angles, canted walls and sloping roofs of the buildings is a 700-foot-long grand promenade, the “Shadow Walk.” This walk diagonally bisects the campus beneath sailing tensile canopies rigged to 70-foot-high poles, which shelter outdoor spaces during the hottest months of the year. Water features, including a 300-foot-long boulder-filled arroyo, celebrate the urban oasis theme.

Designed in collaboration with Boora Architects.

Awards & Recognition:

  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Merit Award for Design, 2009
  • AZRE Magazine‘s 2007 ‘RED’ Award, ‘Most Innovative Design’
  • American Society of Landscape Architects – General Design Honor Award, 2007
  • Urban Land Institute’s 10 Best Projects in the Western Hemisphere, 2006
  • International Interior Design Association – Honor Award for Public / Institutional Projects, 2006
  • Valley Forward Association’s Environmental Excellence Crescordia Award: Site Development and Landscape Urban Plazas, 2005
  • Valley Forward Association’s Environmental Excellence Crescordia Award: Art in Public Places, 2005
  • Valley Forward Association’s Environmental Excellence Merit Award: Buildings and Structures: Public Assembly Place, 2005
  • Southwest Contractor Best of Award – Best Public Building Project over $5 million, 2005
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