The New York practice SHoP Architects has been selected to design the Upper Harbor Terminal Community Performing Arts Center (CPAC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sited on the Mississippi River waterfront, the center will be designed for First Avenue Productions as a year-round epicenter for live music and entertainment. SHoP's design aims to engage the community and its context to embrace the musical and cultural legacy of North Minneapolis.
The CPAC was designed with North Minneapolis residents in mind, and the development has shifted in direct response to their feedback. Reverting to open, unobstructed parkland, the performing arts center is designed as an amphitheater. Serving a dual function as both a park and performing arts center, the project places nearly 6,000 fixed seats in a raised steel structure called "the Gantry" spanning along part of the new 2.3-acre park. Creating a more continuous park for the community, the raised seating pays homage to the existing industrial artifacts found on the site. The geometry and proportions of the Gantry are optimized to ensure clear views of the stage from the lawn, while at the same time creating a more intimate space for performance.
“Minneapolis and First Avenue have a long history of creative transformation, and a rich legacy of music and culture. We are thrilled to be working together to expand upon this tradition. In designing the UHT CPAC, we were inspired by what makes First Avenue one of the country’s most intimate and special music venues, focusing on the idea of creating an inclusive venue where everyone feels like a VIP, while also allowing for a larger, open park and green space open year-round for the North Minneapolis and surrounding communities to enjoy,” said Gregg Pasquarelli, a founding partner of SHoP Architects.
SHoP's design creates a distinct landmark for the new Upper Harbor Terminal development on the Mississippi riverfront, complete with views and access to the water. First Avenue will build and operate the new center, with hopes to keep the group's spirit and characteristic experience part of the venue. The stage itself can be enclosed and transformed into a smaller performance space during the cold-weather months. The amphitheater has capacity for 10,000, with 6,000 seated, 4,000 lawn seats and 10 private boxes.
“A world-class city like Minneapolis deserves a world-class outdoor concert venue. SHoP’s design for UHT offers so much more than just an amphitheater. The Community Performing Arts Center provides a space for diverse entertainment and programming, while also creating green space and riverfront access the majority of the year. We could not be more excited to be involved in the development of the UHT,” said First Avenue owner Dayna Frank.
Made to be open and accessible, the CPAC allows public access on non-ticketed show days. Programming includes curation from long-standing North Minneapolis nonprofits, and every ticket sold includes a fee supporting free public programming at the Upper Harbor Terminal. Providing green space for the public, the design is made to be available 315 days per year, with ticketed events taking place approximately 50 days per year. Construction is expected to begin in late 2020 or early 2021.