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August 30, 2018

Eastside Prep’s versatile arts hall made for concerts, plays and yoga

  • With help from a “sky wall,” the theater balcony can be transformed into a lecture hall or activity space.


    TALI Hall is a new 105,000-square-foot performing arts building for Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland. The letters it in its name stand for “think, act, lead, innovate.”

    This building supports the school’s commitment to connecting performing arts to learning across varying disciplines and the school community. Housing a 500-plus-seat auditorium, 21 classrooms, multipurpose spaces and conference rooms, the space was designed for maximum flexibility and adaptability.

    Space transformation is key to this building. The auditorium transforms to meeting spaces, and a theater balcony becomes a lecture hall and moonlights as a yoga studio. Add in two floors of underground parking for 100 cars, and TALI nearly doubles the campus’ space for program and parking.

    The project team worked closely, coordinating its design and construction efforts to get TALI Hall ready for its grand opening this coming school year.

    “There are a lot of moving parts when you build a project of this magnitude. It was important the team was on the same page,” said TJ Modica, senior project manager at Schuchart.

    Drawing on design cues from its sister building, the Macaluso Academic Collaborative, the building embraces the materials that compose it. Large expanses of glass and steel on the exterior transfer to the interior, and concrete columns and floors are left exposed, giving a glimpse into the building’s bones.

    Structure takes form

    Rendering by Public47 [enlarge]
    TALI Hall will have 21 classrooms, dedicated arts spaces and a 500-plus-seat auditorium.

    Twenty feet below grade level, TALI Hall’s journey began with excavating more than 20,000 cubic yards of earth to make room for underground parking.

    The combination of soil nails and a tieback system held back the remaining earth while the new 18-inch mat-slab foundation was poured. Add in columns and four post-tensioned slabs, and the four-story building began to take form.

    A three-story atrium topped with a 40-foot skylight draws light and air into the building core, while a roof terrace creates a green space for interaction and learning.

    Focus on arts

    The school offers a wide variety of music, theater, choir, visual arts, art, photography and filmmaking classes.

    These offerings allow students to progress from the basic understanding of the mechanics of a skill to proficiency in performance and expression. The new space complements these courses by creating a flex space that can be configured to meet the needs of the curriculum.

    The auditorium has retractable seating to provide access for full-floor events and functions. It can also be configured for traditional proscenium-style and theater-in-the-round performances.

    The balcony space has a “sky wall” that divides the theater and balcony, creating a 130-seat lecture space, a yoga studio or a multipurpose meeting space.

    The technical spaces improve the teaching environment for theater with lighting/sound system upgrades and a wire tension grid for safe teaching 8 feet above the stage floor. Administrative offices and study spaces are distributed throughout the building, promoting spontaneous interactions among staff, educators and students.

    Dedicated spaces

    TALI Hall offers a solution to the high demand for expanded performing arts offerings. In the 2016-2017 school year, 94 percent of Eastside Prep students participated in at least one music, drama or visual art class.

    The music program will benefit from dedicated classrooms and performance spaces with appropriate acoustic treatment, greatly improving the experience for both performers and audiences.

    The theater program is looking forward to the flexibility the space has to offer. The stage is large enough to hold a full orchestra and choir, but can also be reconfigured to house smaller plays and performances.

    The large set-making shop will facilitate more detailed instruction regarding construction processes and set design, enhancing the performance experience.

    TALI Hall offers dedicated art spaces equipped with sinks, work space, cupboards and storage — something the prior spaces did not have.

    The 2018-2019 school year will mark the 16th academic year for Eastside Preparatory School. What began with 16 students and six employees has grown to 470 students and more than 100 employees. Since its founding in 2002, Eastside Prep has stayed true to its commitment to help students create their own learning experiences in a kind and supportive environment.

    “We admit students as individuals, and they graduate as community members,” said Terry Macaluso, Eastside Prep’s head of school.

    Eric Peterson manages Schuchart’s Ground Up division. Schuchart is a family-owned, full-service general contractor serving commercial clients in the Puget Sound region.

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