2008  |  Durham Performing Arts Center  |  Durham, NC

Developed on a former brownfield site, the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is a 103,000-square-foot, 2,800-seat, Broadway-style theater. Co-developed and designed by Phil Szostak, DPAC is the largest venue of its kind in the Carolinas and was built for a total project cost of $46M, less than half the price of comparable venues elsewhere in the country. The theater was designed to accommodate touring theatrical companies, concerts, locally produced stage performances, and serves as the primary stage for the American Dance Festival.

Since opening in November 2008, the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) has become one of most highly attended venues of its size in the country. It has been listed five times in the top 5 in Pollstar magazine’s annual worldwide theater attendance rankings, and is currently the number 3 ranked theater in the U.S. DPAC has proved a wildly successful investment for the public-private partnership led by Durham’s community leaders that funded its $46M development. Net revenues generated by the building – 40% of which are shared with the City of Durham – rose from $1.3M in 2009 to $5.3M in 2015. According to the Durham Visitor and Convention Bureau, DPAC accounted for a total Durham direct visitor spending in 2014 of $66.3M and an overall annual economic impact exceeding $48M. Ancillary development spurred by DPAC is estimated to total over $300M in the coming decade.

ULI Triangle Influence Award, 2016
AIA Triangle Merit Award, 2011
AIA North Carolina Honor Award, 2009
Durham Appearance Commission Golden Leaf Award, 2009
CREW Champion Community Enhancement Award, 2009
AIA Mid-Atlantic Region Honor Award, 2004

Photography by Tom Arban

This is a stunning urban project. The entry hall celebrates the act of arriving at the venue and moving through the building. It really activates the site, and provides a beautiful wrapper around what is usually a big blank box.

- 2009 AIA NC Honor Award Jury