Höweler + Yoon Architecture Unveils Circus Conservatory Design


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Höweler + Yoon Architecture, in collaboration with OFIS Arhitekti, has unveiled its design for a new building for The Circus Conservatory, which will house America’s first accredited degree program in the Circus Arts. Located in Portland, Maine, as the anchor tenant of a peninsula, the project aims to transform an undeveloped part of the city into a “vibrant artistic center complete with public performance venues and recreational facilities.”

Inspired by the historic circus shape—a circle with a radial audience—the design proposal utilizes a radial viewing strategy “in order to similarly activate the educational community.” Furthermore, in the design, acrobatics, performance, and classroom spaces are treated equally, “[challenging] the viewing relationship crucial to a circus and academic settings.”


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Several large acrobatic training halls, with transparent ends, act as oculi through the circular plan. These provide dramatic views of the Fore River and connect cross-courtyard performances described the architects. 


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A continuous interactive loop that oscillates between training, group studying, socializing, and private practicing will hold media areas, libraries, a café, and circulatory flex areas between the training halls.


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Public circulation is woven throughout the building, with patrons entering below the raised loop and into a large public auditorium.


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A “formed underbelly” acts as a dynamic outdoor theater and plaza in which the public and students can engage.


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Learn more about the project here.

News via: v2com.

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