Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center

Birmingham, Alabama
University of Alabama at Birmingham Completed 1996

The Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham encompasses four distinctive performance spaces: a 1350-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theater, a 150-seat recital hall and a highly technical black box theater. Inspired by the great performance halls of Europe, the Jemison Concert Hall includes a hardwood stage for orchestra, ensemble and individual performances, two levels of main seating, dress circle seating at the sides, and custom acoustical panels lining both the walls and ceiling that enable the building to be tuned for each type of performance. This special performance space has proved so effective that international performing artists often praise it directly from the stage. Also designed after its European predecessors, the theatre employs wrap-around balconies for an interactive atmosphere. Uniting all of the performance spaces is a two-story, barrel-vaulted main lobby that serves as both a reception area and the site of many special events. The facility also contains an intimate patrons area with bar, faculty offices, academic spaces, ticketing areas, concessions, and other ancillary spaces. The exterior of the building complements the architecture of the campus through its use of brick and precast concrete accents, highlighted by a soaring drop-off canopy.