In 2020, RSA was contacted by BritZa‘s soon-to-be sole owner to help her design a brand new performing arts studio that would help launch the dance company into its new identity. The owner was working with another company to divvy up a parcel of land that was bigger than either of them needed individually. RSA had also been contacted by the neighboring company and helped with the design layout of both buildings on the site.
A large utility easement running down the middle of the site meant the buildable land was smaller than originally planned. Without compromising the program desired by BritZa’s owner, RSA created a compact building plan. The 10,000 square foot floor plan maximizes the buildable land, by having the three large dance studios directly adjacent to the main lobby hub. From one location, guests can view the three studios without moving. There are a set of back-to-back benches between two of the studios in the main lobby area for parents and guests to watch rehearsals. The dance studio’s store is also adjacent to the main lobby. In addition, the store has an access point straight from the vestibule, making it possible to open the store while the rest of the studio is closed.
A fourth, smaller studio is located just off the lobby and waiting area, accessed by a hallway running east along the black box studio — this hallway includes bench seating opposite a wall of windows for guests to view rehearsals taking place in the black box studio. The employee and storage areas are located in the back of the building, separated from the public spaces of the building. From the back employee area, instructors can directly access both large studios, or use the hallway between the two large studios to access the lobby and rest of the building. There is also a secure exterior entrance for instructors to enter directly into the employee area. The restrooms and dressing rooms were also thoughtfully placed near the main entrance, but away from the greatest circulation areas to avoid congestion.
The aesthetic design of the building was led by the new owner’s vision for the future of the performing arts studio. The two west studios and the lobby are naturally light-filled through ample windows. The strategic placement of windows allows for the placement of other necessities such as mirrors in the studios and seating in the lobby. The large east studio was designed to double as a black box performance space and its placement in the building works perfectly for it to not receive the natural light that the other spaces do. The placement of the 4th smaller studio allows for windows and natural light, as well as a feeling of seclusion — perfect for dancers and instructors to utilize the space in solitude.
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