Richmond Ballet exterior
Richmond Ballet interior

Richmond Ballet


This 52,000 square foot renovation of an existing 1928 four-story concrete-framed factory created a new home for the Richmond Ballet's professional company, offices, support spaces and school of dance. The Ballet sought to create a landmark facility that embodied and communicated the contemporary and artistic values of the organization, while maintaining strict adherence to the construction budget of the financially conservative non-profit. Thus, "The Ballet Factory", inspired by the existing building, budget, and design potential.

To contrast the weight and solidity of the existing concrete and masonry structure, a new lightweight structure of steel and glass was designed to literally hang off, or 'dance' on, the face of the existing concrete frame, embodying the motion, tension, energy and dynamic of dance. Interior spaces are organized in an animated plan where light pours into the studios, and offers views of dancers within. The Ballet features a high volume pair of studio spaces to serve the professional company. This space is convertible to a 250 seat studio theatre for intimate performances to smaller audiences. BCWH designed and coordinated the dance floors, performance lighting, ballet barres, mirrors, performance drapery and support space features in close collaboration with the Ballet staff.