New lobby expansion, 80,000 S.F building
We at Klar and Klar Architects are excited to share with you the completion of our master plan and architectural design of the lobby expansion at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The 35 year old 80,000 S.F performing arts center finally now has a new entrance a new lobby and a much larger dress circle area. In 2011 when we were awarded the commission, we mentioned to Ruth Eckerd Hall at that time in addition to having no lobby that one of the problems was that event traffic kept patrons stuck in their cars trying to park. The solution we came up with added 2 ingress and egress lanes, and we re-circulate the traffic directly into the parking lots. To compliment this we added colorful and extensive landscaping along the Blvd. with new signage and graphics. A good performing arts centers should have a proportionally sized lobby. This is part of the Performing Art Center event experience. The entrance serves for the obvious entry and exit but also to socialize, people watch, along with eating, drinking and pre-event entertainment. All those experiences can be greatly enhanced with a strong architectural design. This design then tells the patrons something about the culture and organization of the Performing Art Center and more importantly that they want you to feel special when you come for an event. What we did as architects and interior designers was to create a form and space that was inviting, exciting, unusual and yet functional. The overall design challenge started with us respecting the architectural language that originally established by the FLW foundation, the original architects of Ruth Eckerd Hall. We chose to loosely use the architecture language of FLW’s Cooley Playhouse with its circular elements as a catalyst for this exterior design. We also blended FLW’S Johnson wax building. We then reinforced this design with repeated decorative round/oval patterns in the ceiling, lighting wall treatments, signage, staircase and security bollards. As one approaches the building, we created considerably more covered gathering area outside. There’s a new circular vehicular valet drop off and another outdoor plaza with for pre and post event entertainment. As one enters the new lobby, one sees the round/oval building elements repeated in the floor layout decorative lighting, our bar designs and the stage area for indoor pre-event performances. This is an overriding design principal at Klar and Klar Architects. We believe in overall consistency of the design and including all the elements. This makes much stronger and more obvious design. As Klar and Klar Architects completes out almost 10 years at working on the hall we are confident that our skills as both Architects and Interior designers have improved Ruth Eckerd Hall as the best place in the Tampa Bay Area to experience a performance.