The possibility of miracles happening in this building is very real

Dreamed of for decades, this building for the arts on the Utah Valley University campus was incorporated into the school’s existing Noorda Theatre. The center was designed to not only benefit UVU students studying the arts, but also benefit the community the university is a part of by providing exceptional arts programming to the public.

The center features a 500-seat proscenium theater with an orchestra pit for live musical performances and opera, as well as a 900-seat concert hall. A versatile black box theater, classrooms, practice rooms, two dance studios with retractable seating and an outdoor amphitheater enhance students’ performing arts education.


Method Studio principal architect Basil Harb guided the design team’s overarching vision to develop a multi-venue facility that seamlessly receives and invites student life and campus activity. “We imagined a building that would uplift and enhance the arts experience for students and faculty members,” describes Basil.

Our engineers have applied their expertise and knowledge to performing arts facilities on seven of Utah’s higher education campuses. This experience means we anticipate potential issues and help a client with a continuously changing and evolving design.

Complex loading, sound isolation and stepping floor elevations on each level to accommodate venues to meet the site and building requirements were a few of the structural design challenges we tackled. “Stakeholders expected us to be responsive in both our discussions and our structural design recommendations” says project engineer Corey Price. “Our design team met and exceeded those expectations.”

With seven performance venues, 27 soundproof practice rooms and 27 private teaching studios, sound control is vital for ensuring acoustic requirements. The Noorda was designed and built as five separate buildings, each with its own foundation, walls and insulation to prevent noise transfer from one venue to the next.

Reaveley recommended a masonry structural system to deliver the acoustic mass needed to reduce sound transmission between spaces and from the exterior. Intermittent masonry walls were used in place of masonry walls where acoustic requirements weren’t as necessary. These design solutions helped to economize the building’s structural system.

Also important to stakeholders was bringing natural light into the building without excessive columns or structure. The benefits of natural lighting don’t stop with student productivity and well-being but also extend to energy consumption. Reaveley met the challenge by using thin and wide column sections to match mullion profiles while providing resistance to wind loading on the glazing systems.

At last year’s ribbon cutting, the building donor remarked, “the possibility of miracles happening in this building is very real.” We agree. It’s always gives our engineers a thrill to be a part of an effort that makes dreams become a reality.