Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center
Bordered by the Schuylkill River and Canal in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood, Venice Island was the site of several 19th century manufacturing mills. The city’s new Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center recalls an industrial aesthetic reminiscent of the former mills. BKP’s design juxtaposes an industrial exterior aesthetic – cast-in-place concrete, precast exposed-aggregate concrete panels, metal fascia and roof – with a 250-seat jewel-box theater clad in maple panels with rich accent colors on the stage curtain and surrounding walls. Designed for and with local residents’ involvement and to support community recreation and larger environmental goals, the venue includes the $3.2 million performing arts center plus outdoor recreation amenities and playgrounds. The overall $46 million project included sophisticated storm water management with a four-million gallon underground storage tank to alleviate past flooding on the site. BKP collaborated with the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation to incorporate a first-class performance venue for children and adults. The firm also worked closely with Hazen and Sawyer environmental engineers and landscape designers Andropogon Associates, Ltd. on comprehensive site planning to support the project’s functional, environmental, and recreational needs. As part of this project, BKP worked with the City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art program to commission Masayuki Nagase to create River of Life, a site-specific public artwork.
8,000 square feet