David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Master Plan
Commanding a prominent site along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts (formerly Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center) is the sixth largest performing arts center in the U.S. and currently hosts over 600,000 patrons per year at 9,600 events. Westlake Reed Leskosky has been working with the the Straz Center for the past 10 years on a variety of studies and master planning efforts. The most recent Master Plan completed in January 2016 leverages the development of a new residential tower, the city's Riverwalk (already extending both north and south of the site along the Hillsborough), and new Art Museum and Children's Museum located within the larger riverfront park. With a goal of maximizing the performing arts center's potential within this context, WRL started the planning process by establishing an appropriate site program to resolve several key challenges. These include: pedestrian and vehicular circulation (drop off, parking and bus staging); connecting the Straz Center both to the River and to the downtown core; and developing a new parcel on adjacent land to accommodate parking and mixed-use development. The Master Plan recommends a series of interventions in new construction-lobby expansion, updated food and beverage services, a new event center, arrival plaza, and outdoor event terraces-that are woven together to reinforce the experience of the Straz as an arts campus. Bringing the city grid down to the river and the river's alluvial edge up to the Straz, the master plan merges both public and patron amenities, bringing the unintended user into contact with the arts and reciprocally delivering the arts to the riverfront.