Opened in 1976, the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center (formerly Sacramento Community Center Theater) was a professional performing arts center in dire need of a transformation. The aging brutalist structure stood closed off from view and separated from the surrounding urban fabric. With aging infrastructure, the building needed a comprehensive modernization to meet the escalating requirements of contemporary performance and to present a new face to the public.
The renovation and expansion opens the building to the surrounding urban fabric and brings Sacramento’s rich culture of trees into the building. A material palette of transparency contrasts with the former façade’s opaque concrete and creates a welcoming presence at the pedestrian level. A lacy scrim providing dappled light reminiscent of a tree canopy surrounds the formal lobby at the south and continues to the north as cover to an outdoor room. Major renovations to the audience chamber and orchestra pit included the installation of the largest electro acoustic enhancement system in North America, transforming an acoustically poor and visually confusing interior space into a warm, inviting, acoustically superior performance space.