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Mercer Arts Arena

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  • Arts/Cultural
  • Civic/Workplace


As a principal at LMN Architects, Owen Richards was the lead architect for this transformation of a 1920’s arena into a multi-use music and dance performance venue for the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet for use during the renovation of the existing Opera House. The project includes a 2,900 seat main stage auditorium, green rooms, dressing rooms, and public spaces. A key design feature in the auditorium is the exposed large scale wood trusses and roof structure, also central to the acoustical design strategy: removal of existing dropped ceiling provided appropriate room volume and reverberation to create a highly acclaimed acoustical space for voice and instrumental performances. 60,000sf; $5.5 million project cost.

In 2008, Owen Richards Architects were selected as the Consulting Theater Architect collaborating with prime architect NBBJ to transform this facility once more, into the Seattle Opera Center to accommodate new rehearsal facilities, scene shops, education and office spaces. The project is currently about to start design development.

Photo Credits: Lara Swimmer

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