Unbuilt  |  Carrboro Arts and Innovation Center   |   Carrboro, NC

The Carrboro Arts and Innovation Center (CAIC) marries a traditional arts center concept with the contemporary model of a startup incubator. It proposes a modern vision of a public arts institution, one that fosters art and industry in every stage of development, from idea to implementation, and one that encourages collaboration across disciplines and among all ages. The multi-faceted facility includes an interactive museum for children, three performance spaces, classrooms and exhibition space for the visual arts, and studios for artists and entrepreneurs. CAIC was designed replace the existing ArtsCenter in the Town’s central business district.

In order to determine project feasibility, Szostak Design master planned the full facility through conceptual design. The proposed five-story, 55,000-square-foot building was planned for four phases. Conceptually, the building was envisioned as a series of nested volumes, each containing a different performance venue. The main performance space was designed to seat up to 225 in a range of configurations to suit either musical or theatrical productions. Two smaller performance spaces, a flexible 130-seat recital hall and a fixed 80-seat studio theater, were designed to accommodate audiences in a more spatially intimate setting.

Wherever operationally feasible, performance and high-volume activity spaces were placed at the perimeter of the building to project the inner life and energy of the center outward to the community beyond. Residual space adjoining each performance venue was intended for flexibly-designed classrooms, rehearsal and office spaces that could be easily reconfigured as the use of the building and its programming evolves over time.

The building’s rooftop would serve as a public garden and exhibit space for outdoor sculpture. The ground floor would house Kidzu, an interactive museum and learning space for children.