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Performing Arts Centre new venue for grad

UBC Reports

Students graduating at this spring’s Congregation are the first to do so in the new Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

The $25-million facility consists of a concert hall, a unique and flexible studio theatre and a multi-purpose cinema linked by a two-story glass lobby and outdoor patios.

It officially opened earlier this month with a series of critically acclaimed performances.

The centre will provide a valuable training ground for UBC music, theatre and film students, but will also be available to local and visiting arts groups. It fills a need in Vancouver for a medium size concert hall. The stage is large enough for a full symphony orchestra plus a 200-voice choir.

The 1,400-seat Chan Shun Concert Hall, where Congregation ceremonies will be held, is named for the father of Tom and Caleb Chan. The Chan Foundation of Canada provided the major donation which made construction of the centre possible. The Government of B.C. provided matching funds.

The most dramatic feature of the concert hall is the huge adjustable acoustic canopy that hangs over the stage.

Illuminated with more than 400 lights, the 37-tonne canopy is counterweighted and can be raised and lowered using just a small motor. This allows it to adapt to a wide range of acoustic needs – lowered for solo or small group performances or fully raised for amplified music.

The auditorium’s acoustics are further adjusted by motorized velour banners that drop from the ceiling to mask the walls.

The concert hall’s curved walls are shaped like a cello which provides an even distribution of sound. Cables and frets on the upper walls extend the musical motif.

Also located in the Chan Centre is the BC TEL Studio Theatre, one of only two theatres in North America that has moveable seating towers that can adjust to a wide range of performances.

The seating towers can be moved into 12 different configurations including courtyard, arena, cabaret or theatre in the round, depending on the needs of each production or event.

This makes it an ideal space for classical drama, small musicals, dance, cabaret and solo performances. The theatre’s seating capacity ranges from 136 to 252.

The Royal Bank Cinema is a 158-seat audio-visual theatre with the capacity to screen Super 8, 16 mm, and 35 mm film or slide and video projections.

This multipurpose facility can also be used for a wide range of activities including conferences, meetings, lectures and festival events.

None of the three venues are structurally linked to the other, so sounds will not carry between them.

The Chan Centre’s lobby, with its six-metre-high curved wall of glass, was designed to maximize the view of the surrounding panorama and adjacent evergreen forest. There is also easy access to the Rose Garden.

The Chan Centre was designed by a team of internationally acclaimed architects, theatre designers and acousticians.

The architect and prime consultant was Bing Thorn Architects of Vancouver. ARTEC Consultants did the basic design of the concert hall and comprehensive acoustics consulting. Theatre Projects Consultants did the theatre planning and the design and specification of the specialized equipment.


Thu May 1, 1997