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The Straz Center for the Performing Arts viewed from the river at night illuminated in purple
Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Bringing the Straz Center to the Riverfront


David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

Project Location

Tampa, FL


240,000 SF


architecture, lighting design, technology design, masterplan

The David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts commands a prominent 10-acre site along the Hillsborough River, and is the sixth largest performing arts center in the U.S. Built in 1987 on an abandoned gravel lot, it is now home to Opera Tampa, the Patel Conservatory, and six theaters/rehearsal halls.

Our design for a significant expansion of the complex resolves several key challenges hampering the Straz’s ability to remain a state-of-the-art performance facility that keeps pace with the city’s far-reaching growth potential. A redesigned vehicular road system provides much-needed space for parking, simplifies pedestrian and vehicular circulation, and better connects the Straz to the river and downtown core. A series of interventions in new construction—expanded lobby, updated food and beverage services, a new event center, an arrival plaza, and outdoor event terraces—provides additional opportunities for revenue generation and reinforces the experience of the Straz Center as an arts campus where patrons will gather well beyond performances. We are serving as design architect, providing architecture in collaboration with Gresham Smith as the architect of record, as well as acoustics; audiovisual; information transport; life safety & security; and lighting design services.


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