2023 Award of Merit
The architects [from DLR Group] I’m working with are very detailed, know what they want in the new building, and have done an excellent job resolving issues.”
DLR Group’s comprehensive renovation design of SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center reinforces a communal sense of place, expands adjustability and spreads quality sound throughout the space, and revitalizes the heart of downtown Sacramento.
Inspired by Sacramento’s City of Trees slogan, both the exterior and interior design approach reinforce a communal sense of place. The softness of trees directly contrast with the historic brutalist concrete building providing the transformation the public was anticipating. The renovated and expanded building is designed for patrons to experience a feeling of discovery, much like meandering through a park. Subtle and profound moments blend – like the custom carpeting, the copper on the concierge bar, the monumental feel of the Cacophony art piece – to create a unique experience. The goal was for people to keep coming back and to see or discover something new each time they return. The custom carpet design evokes a sense of walking through trees – leaves become puddled and gather in piles. Subtle moments like these promote feelings of discovery.
The 1970s theater had reached its limits, relying heavily on curtains and drapes to modify sound for different performances. With inadequate conditions disrupting performances, DLR Group needed to design an acoustically superior space to adapt for performances yet to be imagined. Our solution expands adjustability and spreads quality sound throughout the space. There is not a bad seat in the house, acoustically speaking.
The removal of the entire audience chamber floor and provisions of new seating and aisles throughout have transformed the venue’s interior from acoustically poor and visually confusing into an inviting, acoustically superior performance space.
This inclusive design provides a venue to the people of Sacramento that is unique to their community and needs, revitalizing the heart of downtown and bringing it one step closer to defining itself as the premier cultural institution in the state capitol.
Watch how the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center was transformed into a building that actively welcomes the city of Sacramento by connecting both the interior and exterior to its history.