Taylor Performing Arts Center

Local History, Geography and Geology Influence a Performing Center’s Structure, Material and Finish Choices

The art of music taught at Mount Royal University’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts is housed in a work of art itself – inspired by the geography and geology of the natural surroundings in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The facility creates an environment that directly connects music education with performance.

Architects at Pfeiffer Architecture built a stunning addition to the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, which was completed in 2015. This music conservatory on Mount Royal University’s campus was already a staple in the community, serving musical education to people starting at age three all the way until adulthood; and at over 100 years old, it is the oldest structure of its kind in the country.

The 109,000 square-foot updated structure includes the 800-seat Bella Concert Hall for performances, which is surrounded by instructional spaces, ensemble rooms, individual and group practice rooms, rehearsal halls, studios, classrooms and administration areas. Views of the surrounding campus and region are visible thanks to the inclusion of a multi-level lobby and roof terrace.

The design of the building’s additions pulled inspiration from the Calgary region’s geography and history. Iconic imagery of the area’s prairies, a lone barn found on the open landscape, teepees of the local aboriginal inhabitants and the province’s official floral emblem, the Alberta Rose, were incorporated into the design. These influences inspired the decisions behind the structure, colors and finish materials.

The massing of the performing arts center reflects the aesthetic of the prairie landscape meeting the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. To further bring this aesthetic to life, the architects specified the use of Vicwest .76mm metal panels, which are lightweight and easy to shape. These pre-painted steel panels are coated in the Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings Fluropon® color Classic Copper and WeatherXL™ colors Grey Silt, Aged Metal and Charcoal. WeatherXL finishes can stand up to the harshest weather elements, while preserving color and gloss, and Fluropon coatings deliver outstanding color retention and consistency with excellent resistance to UV rays. The coil-coated panels deliver exceptional weather protection and optimized energy efficiency.

The interior of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts also reflects the details found in the surrounding areas, especially in the Bella Concert Hall. This performance venue is clad in corrugated metal panels coated in a copper finish, which alludes to the lone barn found in the prairie landscape. The use of wire mesh panels that cover the concert hall walls mirror the shape of the teepees from the aboriginal inhabitants. And most notably, the Alberta Rose can be found in the design of the acoustical canopy in the middle of the ceiling within the venue.

The architectural decisions behind the additions to the LEED Gold certified performance center helped to create a welcoming yet dynamic environment for music education and performance, while also communicating the history of the area. Inspired by the community and built for the community, the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts has something for everyone.

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