Valdosta Daily Times

November 4, 2012

Architects release rendering for auditorium project

Planning complete: next step, SPLOST

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Five Points Project Steering Committee accepted finalized elevations from IPG Architects Oct. 18 for the future Valdosta Municipal Auditorium, if the seventh cycle of the SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) referendum passes Tuesday.

Both the Steering Committee and designers are excited about the direction the project seems to be taking—a modern take on southern styles that buildings in Valdosta already display.

The auditorium will stand at Five Points, within a short distance for most of the community in this central location, right next to the proposed new South Georgia Regional Library.

The facades will make it the dominant building in the proposed plan, and will provide an eye-catching welcome to visitors coming into town from North Valdosta Road. Between the auditorium and the library, an open-air amphitheater will provide an outdoor meeting and performance venue.

Large park-like spaces with trees and trails will give visitors additional opportunities to gather outside, play sports, hike and bike.

“The steering committee was absolutely thrilled about the appearance of the facility,” Assistant to the City Manager Mara Register said. “It was just spot-on as far as what we’re going to do in the community.”

Apart from the multi-story height of the structure, a special design for the wall at the front of the facility will make the building sparkle—literally.

“Parts of that wall are solid, but there will be little penetrations in it where light will radiate out like stars in the sky, and in the day time, it will cast light inside,” IPG Architect Rob Evans said.

French cathedrals inspired the perforations in the wall, Evans said. Stained glass with missing tiles allows light to shine into ancient churches, throwing breathtaking beams across the space; Evans will attempt to mimic that phenomenon with his design.

At night, the design will provide a second experience, he said. Interior lights will throw light outward through the perforations, creating a star-like effect.

Apart from this amenity, designers have worked to provide guests with an experience that will satisfy the needs of both patrons and entertainers, Evans said.

“It’s going to be a good experience,” Evans said. “We’ve got comfort, good acoustics, good sight lines. The stage will be adequate. It’s an efficient and thoughtful design.”

The size of the perforations as well as much of the final design, has not been set in stone yet. Designers are still awaiting the passing of SPLOST before they move on to the next step, when architects will more clearly define materials, colors and construction strategies, Evans said.

Evans also expressed that he is looking forward to helping “weave and dovetail” the auditorium project with the library project, managed by Lowndes County.

“I think we’ve got a really great opportunity to create a park-like setting on that side of town,” Evans said.

If SPLOST VII is voted down Tuesday, the Five Points area will remain as-is until funds can be raised for the project. The auditorium and library will remain in their conceptual stages.