George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater

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Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
185,000 square feet / 17,000 square meters

Beginning as an urban master plan by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater is a definitive example of the value of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and the architect of record’s shared collaborative attitude and design expertise. With input from stakeholders, private developers, and city officials, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and the design team were able to unify a wide range of needs and aspirations into a cohesive, expressive architectural declaration.

Located in the heart of the arts district in Salt Lake City, Eccles Theater’s façade on Main Street appears as an elegant cross section of limestone and glass—both recalling prominent Salt Lake architecture—accentuating sharp architectural lines against the beaming interior. Its counterpart on the paralleling Regent Street employs a more subdued, soft spoken presence with dusty beige-colored brick. These two faces express the nature of their surroundings—Main Street, a focused, pedestrian filled street used to attract and welcome visitors; Regent Street, subtle and nonintrusive for retail shops, the rehearsal room lobby, and the entrance to the Galleria.

Within the multi-level Main Street lobby, vibrant colored glass railings and hanging glowing lights introduce patrons to the stunning architectural details that exist throughout the building. This open, airy space provides passersby active engagement with the theatergoers.

The focal point of this neighborhood is the Regent Street Plaza, which acts as a functional space that can easily convert from loading and unloading to a lively outdoor event space, hosting parties, performances, farmer’s markets, and other public functions. Above, an acoustically-glazed black box theater for smaller community events projects over the public space and loading zones, illuminating the plaza with its deep plum color.

At the heart of the complex is the large, 2,500-seat proscenium theater residing off the main street lobby, recalling the terraced Utah landscape—a composition of warm colored panels, gold-toned perforated metal, and sparkling points of light. The ceiling imitates the night sky with tiny, star-like lights appearing to suspend in dark, acoustic material that conceals the banks of stage lighting and mechanical equipment above.

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater is a collaborative effort with the design team and supporting stakeholders, which received an International Economic Development Council Award for its public-private partnership.