Ballet Memphis had outgrown its current space and wished to move to a thriving performance arts district in the heart of the city with a one-of-a-kind facility. The company’s new home opens up to the community with large windows and public courtyards between the studios. The two-story building houses practice space for Ballet Memphis’ professional company and classrooms for youth and community dance instruction. The building is intended to engage the public in dance, movement, wellness, self-discovery, and connection. The exterior form, composed of layers of glass, perforated copper, and volumes of contrasting metal emulates a music box. Gauzy screens and deep insets of the building mask and reveal the activity of dancers within. Warm and neutral materials and cool colours are also used to frame and display movement. The perforated copper screen mimics the existing historic street edge – enhancing the urban experience within an entertainment district undergoing a renaissance – while complying with current city codes and setbacks.
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