The John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts

Villanova University | Villanova, Pennsylvania

The last in a series of planned projects along Lancaster Avenue at Villanova University is the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts which boasts multiple professional-grade performance venues and support spaces within a single building. The 400-seat proscenium theater with a full fly loft has an elegantly curved balcony that embraces the stage and its dramatic gold curtain. The 140-seat courtyard theater can accommodate performances in endstage, thrust or arena thanks to flexible seating that can be customized for multiple configurations. The largest rehearsal space doubles as a ‘performance lab’ that can accommodate small audiences for intimate performances. Students and audiences alike will benefit from the variety of performance opportunity such spaces can offer.

Back of house amenities and educational spaces support all the performing arts: there are dressing rooms, a green room, and well-equipped production shops for scenery and costumes. The third floor features a choral room and dance studio as well as two general classrooms. Offices on the second and third floors accommodate faculty as well as the production manager, building manager, and other department staff.

The generously sized lobby is supported by a full catering kitchen that will allow the space to also accommodate receptions and special events. Full-height windows overlooking the prominent intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Ithan Avenue, catty-corner to Villanova’s field house and stadium, will glow like a beacon on performance nights. The facade is a more contemporary interpretation of the “Villanova Gothic” aesthetic found at The Commons student housing; masonry panels were produced off-site for more efficient construction, with each stone carefully positioned to be visually cohesive, capped by cast stone accents. Traditional gabled roofs on either end of the building contrast with the gracious curve of the main entrance. Villanova sought sustainable design elements where possible, and the performing arts center is pursuing LEED Silver Certification.

Completed in association with Robert A.M. Stern Architects.


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Size: 78,000 sf
Budget: $37 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Landscape, Sustainability

The John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts

Villanova University | Villanova, Pennsylvania

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