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Nashua Center for the Arts


Project Name

Nashua Center for the Arts

Size

53,000 GSF

Location

Nashua, NH

Architects

OTJ, ICON Architecture

Theatre Consultant

Fisher Dachs

Project Name

Nashua Center for the Arts

Size

53,000 GSF

Location

Nashua, NH

Architects

OTJ, ICON Architecture

Theatre Consultant

Fisher Dachs

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Nashua Center for the Arts exterior rendering
Nashua Center for Performing Arts interior seating
Nashua Center for Performing Arts Lobby

Nashua may be a small city (population 91,000), but it is known as the ‘Arts Hub of New Hampshire,’ with more public art than any other city in the state.

In 2016, the city’s Economic Development Division established a working group to spearhead a feasibility study for a new performing arts center in Downtown Nashua, the city’s oldest commercial district. This study determined the former Alec’s Shoes site on Main Street would be an excellent location for the new theatre. ICON Architecture teamed with design architect OTJ and hired Acentech to provide acoustics and audiovisual system consulting for the new building.

The renovated building provides a 750-seat flexible performance space, with a 430-seat telescopic seating system that retracts to create a flat-floor event space for up to 1000 people, or a banquet set-up for 270 people. The center has two entrances, one on Main Street and the second on West Pearl Street, with a glass-walled concourse connecting them. On Main Street, the lobby features large windows at street level and a third-floor outdoor terrace provides views of downtown Nashua.

A series of workshops with community arts groups, city staff, and the venue operator, Spectacle Live, helped the design team to establish the key uses and design goals for the facility.

The acoustical design is focused on intelligibility of dramatic speech with or without amplification, and clarity of amplified sound for music and other program sound. A gentle glow of reverberation will aid connection of audience and performers without muddying sounds from actors or loudspeakers. The mechanical system is designed for very low background noise, and carefully planned layout and circulation ensure no auditory disruption of performances from outside the space.

Acentech’s audiovisual work included close collaboration with Spectacle Live; the venue’s primary technical user group. The sound reinforcement system includes a premier line array loudspeaker system that will be used to support a wide variety of musical performances. The system’s flexible design will support the connection of the owner’s audio mixing console, or consoles provided by various touring companies.

The new, modern, flexible Nashua Center for the Arts will serve as a beacon to the city, attracting a wide audience with nationally touring music and theater performances, and public events.

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