2 Feb 2012

The Wolfe Center

Author: Carrie Brittson | Filed under: BGSU, Wolfe Center

The Wolfe Center arts building is priced at $42 million. Photo by Carrie Brittson

By  Carrie Brittson

The BGSU Wolfe Center, which is the new performing arts building that opened in the beginning of the 2012 spring semester, extends its art capability to more than just a classroom setting.
The building was designed by Snøhetta architects, which also is designing the 9/11 memorial in New York City. The Wolfe Center is Snøhetta’s first finished building in the United States.
Before the building even opened, many people began to infer what the design resembled. “The Wolfe Center resembles a projector you would use in a classroom,” said Alex Liggett, a photography major from Bellbrook, Ohio.
However, that was not the intended idea of the design.
BGSU project manager Ryan Miller attended the meetings about the design of the building. Snøhetta’s design intended to imitate the idea of a boulder placed on land by glacial movement, Miller said.
After stepping into the building, visitors can see the several unique things about the building. The biggest feature seen is a mural created by Anne Senstad. The mural is an 86-by-30 foot photographic mural that goes from dark to light color tones.

"The Eternal" mural by Anne Senstad is located in the main lobby. Photo by Carrie Brittson

There are several other murals by Senstad throughout the center. “The idea Senstad had for her murals is that the sun is trying to break through Northwest Ohio on a grey morning,” chair department of Theatre and Film Ron Shields said.
There are several other distinctive things in the lobby, including a wall with the names of all the main donors and even a staircase that includes an elevated side for performances.
While continuing through the building, there are several rooms with their own different twist. The entrance to the Eva Marie Saint Theatre contains mosaic pieces of art from the city of Antioch that depict different theatrical references. The designers decided to place these antique pieces under viewing glass on the floor instead of hanging them on the wall.

This mosaic depiction of a theatrical bird is located in a viewing panel in the floor of the Eva Marie Saint theatre entrance. Photo by Carrie Brittson

The Eva Marie Saint Theatre is a black box theatre. This theatre allows the arrangement and seating of the theatre to be transformed for several different viewings such as the audience being on all four sides of the performers. This allows the performers and audience to experience a different kind of performance rather than the standard performance where the audience is looking in at the performers from one way.

The Thomas B. and Kathleen Donnell Theatre also allows for seating adjustments. This theatre is shaped like a horseshoe, containing a balcony and a collapsible floor for an orchestra.
As visitors walk through the halls, they can see that some of the walls are unpolished. This is because the designer, Snøhetta, didn’t want everything to be polished and new looking; instead Snøhetta wanted this to be another random part of uniqueness inside the building.
Miller pointed out the different sizes of the hallways while walking through the building. He said the reason certain ones are wider or higher is because during the construction, Snøhetta decided to design the inside by putting different sized rectangular boxes inside one another. This created the walls and rooms for the building and also provided the different shapes and heights of the hallways.
The Arts have not had an addition like the Wolfe Center to its program in several years. “I believe the Wolfe Center will help the arts program flourish and become stronger because it will inspire others and make them want to experience the arts,” Liggett said.

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