Nestled among 76 acres in Strawberry Park, minutes from downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp embodies the vision of founders Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield to create a theatre and dance camp in the mountains. Approaching its centennial year in 2013, it is the oldest continuously operating performing arts school and camp in the country.
When the organization looked to add a practice facility to their rural campus, they chose local architect Joe Patrick Robbins to design the space. The reason: each building he designs is created with a strong connection to the natural attributes offered by the surrounding environment.
After visiting the future site nestled at the edge of a pine forest as it transitioned to a rolling meadow, Robbins knew he wanted to create a building that would help dancers feel as though they were dancing outside even though they were indoors. This called for large panes of glass, which were defined by actual tree trunks, soaring upward into smaller and smaller pieces of glass representing limbs and leaves. Robbins looked to Eagle to help achieve his design.
The project featured local logs that had been standing dead timbers, which helped strengthen the building’s connection to the site. Because each timber was bigger at the bottom, tapering to a smaller dimension at the top, each window had to be custom-fit between the logs.
“When we initially called Eagle and showed them our original sketches, they immediately got it and they got right on board with us,” explained Robbins. “It was a unique and unusual design and they tackled the whole project enthusiastically. They were able to realize our inspiration and really rose to the occasion. It was great to work with them.”
The Eagle team created custom window sizes, matched the wood species and customized mullions that delivered the windows that fit the one-of-a-kind design Robbins was looking for. “It’s as if the timbers were standing there and we just filled them in with glass,” Robbins said.
The finished product is what Robbins calls one of the best buildings he’s designed. “It fits almost perfectly in the environment and does more than it was designed for.” Completed on time and under budget, the Steinberg Pavilion has grown to serve more than just the artistic community; it also functions as a venue for weddings and community events. The new building has helped this fine arts treasure connect more closely with the community while inspiring people among the wilds of this rural campus.