The new performing arts addition designed for Father Gabriel Richard High School gives the school an amenity that they have not had before. Currently, performances are held off site with rehearsals and set building happening in an ad-hoc fashion in the school’s multipurpose rooms adjacent to the chapel. The new small theatre, with seating for 350, is tucked into the hillside and attached to the south end of the existing building. The siting of the addition allows for a steeply raked seating bowl that extends from the main floor down to the lower floor, creating dramatic site lines for patrons. Toward the back of the addition and on the lower level are separate men’s and women’s dressing rooms, a large storage room, scene shop, and a large music / choir practice room.
The new addition will aim to do more than just give the school the programmatic spaces they need. Because the existing building is clad in simple masonry and corrugated metal siding, it could easily be mistaken as a warehouse or other type of industrial facility. This new performing arts addition includes a new entry lobby for the school which extends across the front facade expanding the chapel. This new exterior attempts to add the non-secular character missing from the existing high school. While the addition is horizontal by nature, the proportions of the lobby, combined with the use of tall narrow slots of windows and wood panels, creates the vertical soaring presence that can be found in many catholic churches across the country. The new addition not only becomes the home for performing arts and drama, it also becomes the new front door for Father Gabriel Richard High School.