An image of a white building with windows at the base during the nighttime; An image of a white building with windows at the base during the nighttime;

The Lindemann Performing Arts Center, Providence, Rhode Island

Catalyzing the performing arts in an adaptable and energy efficient venue

Reflecting its multidisciplinary ethos and passion for the arts, Brown University’s new Lindemann Performing Arts Center (LPAC) is an innovative and highly flexible venue. The initial goal of developing a space to accommodate performances of varying sizes and needs seemed daunting. However, through the clever design of diverse configurations and impressive automation features, the project team achieved a visually striking and highly functional result that shapes the campus while serving its students.

The hall’s features such as retractable acoustic curtains and flexible cable carriers enable it to host virtually all of the existing performance groups on campus. Forward-thinking design features encourage experimentation to explore and discover new art forms as well. With over 500 seats and five different performance configurations, this new contribution to Brown’s campus opens up endless possibilities. Arup contributed mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering, and at concept acoustic consulting, audiovisual, and theatre consulting services.

This project is the fourth Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) endeavor Arup has carried out in partnership with Brown University. IPD processes seek to build trust between designers, contractors, and end users. Arup’s MEP team led the Building Systems PIT (Project Implementation Team), collaborating with MEP trade partners to develop and optimize the building systems design of this one-of-a-kind facility.


Project Summary

5 distinct configurations

530seat flexible performance hall

101,000square feet

A performance center on a college campus as the sun sets. A performance center on a college campus as the sun sets.
© Iwan Baan

Moving from new concept to reality using our SoundLab

Arup was commissioned to conduct the initial planning study for the campus’ arts district. During the study, we determined the gaps in the facility capabilities and created the design brief for the project as well as the early concept for the main hall. Our acoustics, AV, and theatre consulting team utilized our SoundLab in New York to demonstrate initial venue design concepts for sightlines and acoustics to representatives from Brown University. Key stakeholders had the opportunity to listen to speech, orchestral music, opera performance, and electronic music modes from varying audience viewpoints. The live demonstration helped confirm that the flexible acoustics approach and proposed technical characteristics of the venue would meet their ambitious programming needs.

The Lindemann Performing Arts Center is such an impressive space. We’re excited to see what it enables all the various performance groups to achieve, and we’re proud to have played an innovative and sustainable role in developing a new home for the arts at Brown University. ” Woman wearing a red jacket and a white shirt. She has dark and is smiling facing the camera. Deanna Schmidt Associate Principal, New Jersey Office Leader

Flexible and sustainable systems

The performance hall’s five configurations include a flat floor, 275 seat end-stage theatre, 388 seat recital hall, 530 seat concert hall, and experimental media cube. The features that make these configurations possible include five seating gantries, retractable acoustic curtains, adjustable acoustic reflector panels, and various lift systems. Arup designed the electrical systems to move and operate in coordination with these changeable elements through flexible cable carriers.  

As we designed the LPAC’s MEP systems, we aimed to support Brown’s commitment to achieving sustained energy and environmental performance. Through intentional measures such as airside energy recovery, demand controlled ventilation, lighting controls, and heat recovery chillers, the MEP systems achieved 25% energy reduction targets compared to the Rhode Island State Energy Conservation Code. The facility is designed to be net-zero ready with all electric systems.

© Iwan Baan

The LPAC is an exceptional example of how design, engineering, and construction can inspire creativity, innovation, and artistic exploration. The development of a space that fosters those outcomes through its flexible and energy efficient design is a testament to the highly collaborative process and strong coordination among its multiple stakeholders.