Cordogan Clark and Theater consultant Next Stage Design teamed for the schematic design of Millikin University's new building for their school of performing arts, offering two options for the school. Option 1 is defined by bold lines and simple rectilinear forms, strongly related to the campus context. The building-to-ground relationship uses red masonry to link it with the existing campus fabric. A brick colonnade surrounds the building entries. From a distance, the brick colonnade creates a solid appearance, similar to many campus buildings, yet once one moves closer, the colonnade opens to reveal the active interior lobby beyond. The design intent is to be simultaneously be grounded and uplifting. Option 2 has an open, transparent, animated, and welcoming façade that integrates openly with the surrounding grounds. The entrances are easily visible from the quad or Oakland Avenue. Visitors are drawn to the activity inside and connected to the theater and dance community. While the lobby and entries announce themselves with bravado, the detailing of the remaining building facades speak respectfully to the existing red brick and red tile roof fabric of the existing campus.
The Theater forms the main core of the floor plan. The Theater is surrounded by all support spaces and surrounded with a circulation path. Dance Studios face east and west: These bring presence and life to both faces of the building, while providing views for the dance students (who are themselves screened from public view).
To the north of the Theater core is a prominent lobby. This is a lively space for students that is also impressive for patrons and visitors. By bringing rehearsal and practice spaces into the lobby, it becomes active and vibrant: It is also a space where students can study, relax, interact with others randomly or pre-determined; it can be a place for art exhibitions, campus announcements, solo acts, acapellas, etc. It will also be that place that evokes that special feeling of excitement and anticipation when one is "going to the show!"
First floor support spaces include: public spaces such as box office and toilets, theater storage, the costume department, and administration offices. Second floor support spaces are primarily the Instructional and rehearsal spaces that have elevated views to the surrounding campus.