The Heritage Center is central to the University of Dubuque campus, providing a multitude of venues to serve students, faculty, staff, and the public. Art by Osmosis is the overarching theme of the new building, inviting people of all walks to happen upon Art in its myriad forms, intentionally and accidentally, as they visit the new center for their work, study, recreation, and entertainment.
The Heritage Center, commands the portion of campus bounded by Grace, McCormick and Bennett Streets and link the North and South campuses. At approximately 80,000 square feet, the building is quite large, and care has been taken to allow the building to blend with existing campus architecture through color and texture, and at the same time make a fresh statement on the importance of, and appreciation for, the arts - with a focus on the students. It will be a virtuoso performer in the UD campus' architectural ensemble.' The exterior's flowing organic forms define each façade with a visual expression of music. These horizontal and vertical forms continue to the interior, with serpentine pathways, free-form finish elements and curvilinear gathering and work places. The building is designed to exude artistic expression in and of itself, from afar and from within.
The primary functions of the building can be categorized as a casual student campus center and formal public areas, with overlaps of each meant to encourage interaction and interest. The student areas are designed to provide educational spaces, group and individual study settings, student services, offices, and hospitality; the public areas provide performance venues, associated gathering spaces, gallery space, heritage display, offices, and hospitality.
Student spaces include a Café and Commons with an open-mic' stage; a store with sundry, personal, and convenience merchandise; an ice cream parlor and lounge; the campus mail/copy/print center; and offices for faculty and student life. Classrooms are dispersed throughout, including a black box theater that can also be used as a lecture hall; a computer lab with an ear toward music composition and appreciation; a visual (fine) arts classroom; a choral music classroom; a instrumental rehearsal room (with associated instrument storage); and numerous practice and rehearsal rooms for performers of all disciplines and abilities. Group study and seminar rooms occur throughout the facility, with alcoves, niches, and a Cyber Café provided to enhance group and individual study settings. The primary circulation through the building winds its way between a variety of performance, instructional and administrative functions, affording sights and sounds to pique the interest of even the most casual observer.
Public spaces include a 1000-seat Main Hall and lobby; a 200-seat black box theater and auditorium space; an art gallery; and all the requisite support. The Main Hall is designed to serve as the premier performance hall for campus, local, regional and national troupes in music, dance, public speaking, and drama, while at the same time providing first-class instructional facilities for the burgeoning theater and performing arts programs at UD. The Main Hall is also designed to accommodate important campus functions such as convocations, baccalaureates, and festival worship services.
The Main Hall comes with all the archetypal accoutrements, from a large stage to accommodate a 100-piece orchestra, to the orchestra pit, fly loft, scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, green lounge, performance equipment, and prop storage. The audience seating is comprised of numerous vineyard' seating platforms, balcony tiers, and boxes, designed to afford uncompromised views and acoustics for every seat in the house, and to be able to scale the hall from the smallest to the largest performance. Every consideration has been given to the Main Hall to ensure that any level or nature of performance is accommodated, with particular attention to acoustics, lighting, rigging and - importantly - patron comfort.
The black box theater is malleable in nature, and can accommodate a wide variety of thrust and arena performance settings, as well as lecture and public address events. A ring gallery offers expanded seating space and back-of-house support for sound and lighting in this important venue.
Additionally, a catering kitchen is provided, with necessary back-of-house space and equipment to support student banquets, receptions, and important dinners.
The Main Hall is served by state-of-the-art displacement ventilation, powered by the building's geothermal mechanical heating and cooling system. Careful attention has been given to energy efficiency throughout, including the building envelope, electrical power, and mechanical systems.
The building also includes a significant display venue for archival and heritage articles and artifacts from the University of Dubuque's long and storied history. This important heritage piece is housed in the Main Hall lobby with proximity to the art gallery and other public spaces.