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Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Project Status



38,815 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Brown University


  • Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
  • : AltieriSeborWieber
  • Electrical Engineer: AltieriSeborWieber
  • Plumbing Engineer: AltieriSeborWieber
  • Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineer: GZA GeoEnvironmental
  • Atelier Ten
  • Landscape Architect: Todd Rader + Amy Crews Architecture Landscape Architecture
  • Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
  • Hughes Associates
  • Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Leavitt Associates
  • Construction Specifications
  • Vanderweil Engineers
  • Pentagram; Malcolm Grear Designers
  • Assa Abloy
  • RDK Engineers
  • Construction Manager: Shawmut Design and Construction
  • Peter L’Hommedieu

Certifications and Designations



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Project Description

Large floor plates, high ceilings, and complete flexibility are the defining characteristics of the building’s main studio, meeting, and production spaces, which occupy the front section of the four-story building and are fully visible from the street. The overall organization is quite simple: The front of the building houses the collective spaces, including a gallery and 218-seat auditorium on the ground level as well as the four vast studios above; the rear section holds spaces for more independent activity, such as smaller meeting rooms, some of the offices, and project studios. Acting as a bridge between the glassy open front section and the more closed rear is a freestanding steel staircase, which has exaggerated proportions and extended, cantilevered landings that serve as breakout spaces for informal meetings.

The dramatic move, however, is the vertical “cleave,” to use Renfro’s term, which slices the building down the middle and offsets the floors by a half-level: The misalignment of the floors and the shear glass wall between them allow the rooms to be visually connected to each other, enhancing an overall feeling of lightness and airiness. Each environment is acoustically isolated, may be completely enclosed by blackout shades, and has scrim shades at all exterior glazing. The façade has another layer of shades—automated exterior venetian blinds that can be tilted to control glare, natural sunlight, and heat gain.

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