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Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo.

Photo: University of WyomingHammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. (HGA) and Tobin and Associates PC completed a modern renovation and expansion project for University of Wyoming's Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts that includes a glass-and-aluminum curtainwall, energy conserving glazing and sunshades.

The architecture firms specified a glass-andaluminum façade with Wausau Window and Wall Systems' double wall to meet acoustic performance goals and create a free span of more than 31 feet. Steven Dwyer, AIA, architectural design team leader at HGA Architects, says the framing system was reinforced with steel. "This allowed us to not have exposed columns with the entire glass wall," he says.

Five acoustical specifications were applied throughout the facility, depending on locations in the faculty studios, corridors, choral rehearsal room and dance studio. Kenneth Tobin, AIA, LEED AP, principal at Tobin and Associates, says natural light was an important feature for many performance and rehearsal spaces. "But because the dance studio was located both on the lower level and in an interior space, windows were not an option," he says. "We felt that a two-story [wall] would not only provide the studio and surrounding study and viewing areas with natural lighting, it would also complement the other window system treatments used throughout the center."

Dwyer says his firm tried to bring natural light into the two main rehearsal spaces through clerestory units. "A feature space is the recital hall, in which you can see the entire back stage wall is glazed," he says. "This is somewhat unique in a performance environment and is intended to use the glass as a connection from the hall onto an east quad."

Dwyer says the original building, constructed in the 1960s, lacked thermal performance. The recital hall wall incorporates tall aluminum fins as part of the glazing system. "These fins provide a degree of solar protection and visual depth on the façade," Dwyer says.

Keith Lindberg, regional sales manager at Wausau Window and Wall Systems, says his company used a 3-D printer to generate prototypes, which helped the design team and university visualize the fins' appearance before fabrication. "The fin resembles a tuning fork and incorporates three extrusions: a main, 24-inch-deep, vertical fin and two small fins to create the fork shape," he says.

B&W Glass installed Wausau Window and Wall Systems' SuperWall curtainwall and ClearStory sunshades for the project. The dance studio's two-story sloped wall was constructed with Wausau's Super- Wall pressure-plate curtainwall system. HGA specified Viracon Inc.'s VNE 1-63 glass with Solarscreen reflective coatings for energy efficiency and Linetec finished the curtainwall system's aluminum framing in Medium Bronze anodize.

Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts, located on the University of Wyoming's Laramie campus, was named for Tom Buchanan, a former president of the university. The project was designed to attain LEED Silver certification, included approximately 50,000 square feet of new construction and partial renovation of an existing 129,000-square-foot fine arts center.

The fine arts center houses cultural programs, fine arts outreach, music department, theater department and dance department. The performing arts center contains a 256-seat thrust theater, 100- seat recital hall, performance studios, conference rooms, dressing rooms, green rooms, box office, practice rooms and offices. The renovated facility has dedicated academic spaces for kinesiology/ health and theater/dance departments. The facility also features a new entrance and lounge area, new racquetball courts, additional outdoor space, climbing wall and additional fitness spaces. The $35 million project broke ground in May 2013 and was completed in May 2015.

Gary Reetz, AIA, is vice president and principal at HGA. "The University of Wyoming is working to fulfill its role as a leader in the arts within the state," he says. "The renovated and expanded Arts Center is a crucial step in achieving this goal for students and faculty with a modern performance and education center that supports diverse arts programming, cross-disciplinary curricula, and community engagement in the performing arts."

Owner: University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo.
Architects: Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. (HGA), Minneapolis, and Tobin and Associates PC, Cheyenne, Wy.
Construction manager: Sampson Construction Co., Cheyenne
Finisher: Linetec, Wausau, Wis.
Installer: B&W Glass Inc., Cheyenne
Glass: Viracon Inc., Owatonna, Minn., www.viracon.com
Glazing systems: Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, www.wausauwindow.com

Photo: University of Wyoming