HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS PLAZA RENOVATION STUDY

Speranza Architecture + Urban Design

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This commission by the Director of Cultural Services of the City of Eugene began with the request to use of technology to empower community connectivity. Urban analysis for this project began with an adapted Social Interaction visualization, stakeholder interviews done with an urban psychologist and fabricated of site models of downtown Eugene and proposed design work. The community engagement activities led to the design of mounds that support outdoor cinema, children playing, people meeting and vegetation growth. 

The design of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts Plaza in Eugene, Oregon began by using the social interaction tool developed in Barcelona to measure more than 50 social interaction indicators in a surrounding 4 x 4 block area, as well as human activity in the nearby Whitaker neighborhood as a baseline. The plan is to repeat the evaluation as each major element of the project is completed, and to use the findings to adjustment the design accordingly.  The community engagement activities led to the design of mounds that support outdoor cinema, children playing, people meeting and vegetation growth.

The main investigation of response component of the Hult Center Plaza, which is still in progress, has been the integration into the design of: 1) real-time data for interactive lighting that responds to changes in ambient temperature and moisture; and 2) text visualization from social media, such as twitter feeds from downtown community groups. The responsiveness of the design was demonstrated at the Jacobs Gallery Exhibit using an acrylic model the illumination of which was controlled by proximity sensors near the model detecting the presence of people, and by the red, blue and magenta illumination of individual mound designs in the model using proximity sensors mounted outside the gallery in the plaza space detecting passing pedestrians and cyclists.

Jury Comments: “This proposal seeks to enliven the Center’s exterior public space by transforming it into a dynamic series of outdoor spaces, emulating the nature of the Center’s performance hall.   However in this instance the audience becomes the performers.  Through careful analysis and gathering of real time data the Plaza would express the qualities of its users.  The Jury commends the passion and desire to transform this urban space into something truly ‘world class’, and for supporting and contributing to the City’s ‘Great Loop’ initiative.”

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