the Colaborative Inc

Durango Cultural & Performing Arts Complex

Client: City of Durango

Site: Durango, Colorado

This project involved the evaluation of a turn-of-the-century power plant to determine the potential for restoration and use as a cultural and performing arts facility. The Collaborative completed an historic building analysis (including paint and mortar analysis), and developed a market analysis, feasibility study, and an overall phased development plan. The main emphasis of the physical evaluation was identification of building features that contributed to its historic/architectural character; development of design parameters for the structures reuse; and an enumeration of materials conservation problems. An industrial building, the Durango power plant utilized industrial construction techniques, including long spans with metal trusses. Conditions on the exterior that had a significant impact on the feasibility of reuse included deterioration of sections of masonry due to water penetration, subsurface water entering the structure, and the desire to retain the existing terne metal roof. The site offered substantial opportunity for outdoor use due to its riverfront location, coupled with its access to the adjacent major highway. The development plan took advantage of the location to provide an amphitheater for outdoor performances, an interpretive riverfront trail system, outdoor studios, a parking garage, and shore-side restaurant. The comprehensive market analysis utilized techniques that included: questionnaires administered to the public to determine price sensitivity, activity preference, visitation patterns, and use considerations; interviews to assess possible tenants (art teacher, artist, dance studio, thespians, etc.); and a review of competing facilities, their problems, their programs and pricing. As a result of the market research, an overall design program was developed for which Dean Brookie designed the site and spaces to meet the approved program. Cost estimates were then integrated into an economic feasibility analysis and a strategic plan was developed for financing and fundraising.