Western Dubuque CSD, High School Performing Arts Addition

The high school’s addition provides ample space to support a fast-growing performing arts program: a 780-seat auditorium, a band/vocal classroom addition, and a support link that houses a scene shop, music library, practice rooms, and instrument storage. The existing lobby was built a decade ago in preparation for this addition.

To reduce its apparent size the fly loft volume is recessed and wrapped by the smaller programmatic volumes. Selected building materials are used to decrease the perceived verticality of the high-volume addition.

Clear and translucent exterior materials creates a visual dialogue between the school’s activities and the surrounding town. The classroom component utilizes both clear glazing and translucent polycarbonate panels to create a pleasant, naturally lit learning environment by day. At night, as performances begin, the glazing becomes a beacon to the town – and those passing on the highway – as the building emits a soft glow. 

Project Type



Epworth, Iowa


30,130 SF
1,000 SF (renovated)