2016 | McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center | Henderson, NC

Located in the heart of Henderson’s historic downtown district, McGregor Hall is a central gathering place for the local community. The Performing Arts Center can accommodate the full spectrum of social, cultural and educational events – touring Broadway shows and musical acts, community theater productions, conferences and seminars.

This project fulfilled our client’s intent to build a theater at McGregor Hall, an existing building housing a library and a lobby to be shared by the theater. Our design concept was therefore informed by the existing building as well as the greater urban context.

Henderson’s historic downtown district is characterized by one- and two-story buildings. As theaters of this scale can have a significant impact on the city’s urban fabric, our approach was to design an addition that integrates seamlessly with the existing building and conforms to the scale of the surrounding neighborhood. The theater massing is set back and separated from the street by a one-story brick massing that relates to the scale and material of nearby buildings. Minimal precast panels clad the theater and lighten the visual heaviness of the massing. At the entrance, a span of glass storefront windows extends the lobby along the street and creates a visual connection to the interior space. The standing seam metal roof applies a traditional style to the auditorium using modern architectural details. Our team also designed the streetscape – lighting and planting along the sidewalk – to evoke the feeling of a downtown main street and create a welcoming environment to draw guests inside the theater.

Photography by Michael Mills