Yuma Art Center254 S Main Street
Yuma, AZ 85364
Design Achievement – Featuring the historic Yuma Theatre and highlighting a new museum, the Yuma Art Center is a unified performing and visual arts center that is managed by the Arts and Culture Division of the City of Yuma, Arizona. The Center serves the community and region as an “arts incubator” for over 90 arts and cultural organizations and is an attraction supporting the continued revitalization of Yuma’s downtown. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky’s design upgrades the 1912 theater, renovates an adjoining building for art studios and classrooms, and provides new space for art galleries and administrative offices in a contemporary building compatible with the historic character of Main Street. The design finds connections between the new museum infill construction and the historic theater, and celebrates their common elements. A one story loggia continues the tradition of the majority of buildings in the historic district while providing shelter from the harsh sun. The new building’s upper story is a contemporary interpretation of its historic context, related by color and material, proportioning systems, rhythm of fenestration, and details such as the cornice. The interiors strongly relate to the region, with very light, natural finishes such as bamboo floors.
Scope Summary – The new, two-story museum building houses a spacious central lobby entrance, four galleries dedicated to fine art, an event catering kitchen, two classrooms, photography darkroom, administrative office space, conference room, gift shop, and support including load-in, crating, and art handling area. In the galleries, different volumes and proportions accommodate a variety of art installations and careful consideration of sun control and shading protects artwork from Yuma’s incredibly harsh light. Upper clerestory windows, configured and angled in various ways, scoop in northern light and a six-foot wide skylight runs the entire length of the building, providing diffuse natural light that bounces off folded walls and ceiling. The existing 1950’s United Building to the south was renovated to accommodate a multi-purpose room for artist lectures, studios, demonstrations, and artist-in-residency programs. A courtyard, located at the rear of the United Building, links the Art Center with outdoor space for pre-events, performance intermissions, and small gatherings. DLR Group | WRL provided architecture, MEP engineering, interior design, energy conservation, historic preservation, and theater technical consulting services.
DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.