Community Municipal

53,340sf Arts Center Opens in Nashua

Nashua Center for the Arts rendering

Nashua, NH – ICON Architecture announced it has been the lead architect for the Nashua Center for the Arts, the newly completed 53,340sf performing arts center, art gallery, and event center at 201 Main Street in Nashua. The center was created as part of a local economic development effort by the City of Nashua and began hosting performances, art shows, and events on April 1.

Located in downtown Nashua on the corner of Main Street and West Pearl Street, the Nashua Center for the Arts features a modern design merged with historic elements such as window frames and exposed brick walls. ICON worked closely with the Performing Arts Center Steering Committee on the project. Spectacle Management Inc. is the firm contracted by the city to operate, manage, and book the center.

The 4-story center features the Bank of America Theater, a 753-seat flexible space. The audience chamber orchestra level has a 430-seat telescopic seating system that retracts to create a flat floor general admissions venue for up to 1000 people or a banquet set up for 250 people.

The center has two entrances – the first and primary entrance is located on Main Street, with the lobby viewed through large windows at street level.  An outdoor terrace located on the third floor overlooks the downtown skyline. A large, yellow, architectural oculus anchors the corner,  metaphorically putting the audience on stage. A glass-walled concourse runs along West Pearl Street featuring the Sandy Cleary Community Gallery. The concourse connects to the second entrance on West Pearl, next to the Theater Walk pathway leading to a city parking garage.

The original dense urban site was occupied by two buildings. The first, a 1960s-era, 2-story + basement commercial store sharing a side party wall with a restaurant, and a rear party wall with the 4-story, multi-use circa 1890s Dunbarton building. After a detailed assessment of the Nashua site, ICON’s design team recommended retaining the brick multi-use building, which maintained architectural merit, and demolishing the commercial building down to its foundations. The foundations were kept for the economic benefit of retaining the existing streets. The Bank of American Theater and front of house functions are constructed on the foundations of the commercial building. Additional lobby and back of house functions are housed in the Dunbarton building. For economy and accessibility, the orchestra and balcony floors of the Bank of America Theater are aligned with the Dunbarton building floors.

The design team, led by ICON, includes OTJ Architects for theater design; Fisher Dachs Associates for theater planning and equipment; Acentech for audiovisual and acoustic design; and Rist Frost Shumway for MEP/FP, civil engineering, and lighting design.