The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is a 103,000 gsf, 2,800-seat Broadway-style theater located on a former industrial brownfield site. DPAC is the largest venue of its kind in the Carolinas. The Theater and adjacent urban park, including a light sculpture by world-renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, has become a catalyst for the revitalization of Durham’s central business district, spurring economic development and transforming the city’s image as a regional center for culture, the performing arts, and entertainment.
For the important site, Surface 678 designed an urban plaza to form an interface between the urban street and the building and provides generously designed hardscaped spaces. To the west, the project includes a plaza that functions to host outdoor events and intermission spill out. The articulation of the plaza is a rectification of the contrasting grids of the urban streetscape and the architecture. Beautifully crafted linear wall elements punctuate the design to form spaces, define edges, provide seating, and contain stairs. The wall elements also contain integrated lighting elements that provide low-level plaza lighting and eliminate the need for bollards and pedestrian lights.