• Gunn Meyerhoff Shay

The Savannah Cultural Arts Center

The Savannah Cultural Arts Center has already been a long and winding road, and we are really just getting to the best part of the design process. After winning the most grueling competition we have ever attempted, and assembling an amazing team of associates and allied professionals, we are now ready to move ahead!


Our intentions for the design find their foundation in the City’s brief, and the vision of Eileen Baker. She has been running the City’s cultural arts programs for twenty years, while dreaming of this place. It will include a 500 seat performance and recital hall, with excellent acoustics and a 21st century lighting and audio-visual capability, to create the best music and dance venue in the region. It will also have a 125 seat “studio theatre”, sometimes referred to as a “black box” as the entire theatre will be rigged above so that the performance can be anywhere, and everywhere, in the space. This too will have state of the art technology, so that everything from theatre, live music and dance, to weddings and corporate meetings, can happen in style!


The heart of the center will be a great rotunda, with sky lighting and flexible gallery spaces surrounding it, so that art shows, exhibitions, and intermissions can take place in classic surroundings. We think of this area as the “hive” of activity for the busy bees that come here to enjoy and make art.


The building will be filled with studios that contain open, day-lit space for music, dance, fine art, ceramics, metal working, glass cutting, and even music and video production. People from Savannah and visitors, young and old, will be able to come here and explore their creativity, and career opportunities while interacting with other artists, performers and touring professionals. In this way, they can pollinate each other, and learn how to make “honey” together!


Our team is very fortunate to be led by Dave Moore, who recently joined us from North Carolina, where he created numerous other places of a similar kind while he was a senior architect there. Dave is joined by Maggie Ward, our Design Associate, who has art in her genes, and earned her Masters in Architecture here at SCAD. Maggie keeps the rest of the team on their toes, and makes a list for us all to stay on task, every week. Before long everyone in our office will be involved, and we are all excited to be able to show our designs in public.


Our next big hurdle will be the Savannah Historic District Board of Review, and we hope to debut the project to them in April. They have lately been asking for contemporary yet compatible design, to contrast with our inventory of beautiful old buildings, and we think a 21st Century center for the arts is a perfect opportunity. Please stay tuned as we will be posting much more about our progress in design on our Gallery page, and Facebook in the near future. A little bit about our inspirations are already there now.

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©2018 Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects, PC 

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