Opened in spring 2013, The LEED Gold certified Howard L. Schrott Center for the Performing and Visual Arts is the newest performance hall at Butler University. The 450-seat venue for music and theater is located near Clowes Memorial Hall, and responds to the theater and music departments’ need for a mid-sized performance facility. The design meets the particular requirements of choral, orchestral, and theatrical productions, and includes a lobby, green room, dressing rooms, and other support spaces. The exterior design employs a mix of buff-colored architectural precast concrete and ashlar-pattern Indiana limestone veneer. The choice of the precast panels was driven by their ability to enclose the tall volume, and provide the mass necessary to isolate the audience chamber and the stage house from unwanted noise. Retractable acoustic banners and curtains are used in the hall to allow the tuning of the room between the needs for a wet music environment and a drier theatrical performance space. The hard proscenium opening is adjustable in width from 40-50 feet to meet a variety of performance needs. The performance hall’s efficiency and warmth provide an intimate atmosphere which allows the audience to feel completely engaged with the performers.
Warm tones and bold colors are used throughout the facility to offset the cooler nature of the exposed precast concrete surfaces. The corridor connecting the front to the back-of-house spaces doubles as a gallery that features works of art by students from the Jordan College of the Arts’. The enlarged landing on the second floor provides additional artwork exhibit space. Monumental windows in the lobby and gallery provide a generous amount of natural light and a direct connection to the surrounding campus, letting the outside in, and minimizing the effect of the massive precast panels. The flame red carpet, wall accents and pendant lights accentuate the inside-out effect.
The facility uses 55 percent less water and 22 percent less energy than similar size facilities thanks to a heat reflective white roof, energy-efficient light fixtures, motion and occupancy sensors, and low-flow restroom. Most of the stormwater runoff is drained into and filtered by a rain garden/bio swale feature.