History of the PACE Center
The PACE (Parker Arts & Cultural Events) Center was designed by the award-winning architectural firm of Semple Brown Design, known locally for the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and the King Performing Arts Center. The general contractor for the project is Shaw Construction The architects and designers of the PACE Center opening October 27, 2011, took mindful consideration of the history of the exact spot where the finished structure will lie, and captured the pride that residents have of the natural open space and the glorious vistas of the mountains and sunsets to the West.
The site was originally home to a train trestle which spanned Sulphur Gulch just a couple of miles from the historic 20 Mile Station. All that is left is the huge berm of earth that supported the trestle. That mound will be kept intact to create the 250 person capacity outdoor amphitheater that will be opening in April of 2012. There are two historic photos of the trains and berm in Parker are below.
In the late 1800’s the Denver and New Orleans railroad ran through what is now Mainstreet in downtown Parker and curved at the land that the PACE Center is built on. From the amphitheater, you can see the original berm that the tracks topped in the picture below. The building materials for the PACE Center were selected with the area’s history in mind. The weathered steel that surrounds the theater’s exterior walls extends down into the lobby pays homage to railroad materials. The weathered steel panels that frame the entryway and encircle Harmony Park have perforations in the pattern of railroad tracks. The process of designing the perforations stemmed from a photo of train tracks, abstracting the image of the tracks and creating three different densities of the panels with varying diameters. The perforated pattern is repeated on glass windows and panels throughout the building.
The material that will stand out most to passersby and theater goers is the environmentally friendly weathered (rusted) steel that is used in large panels both inside and outside of the arts complex to reflect on the area’s past connection with the railroads. To create even further interest and depth, some of the panels of steel have different sized holes cut in it so that lighting can be put behind the steel to light the structure with an artistic effect. Those same stamped out circles of steel were requested by the artist who was chosen to create the large piece of art that will greet you at the entryway. The “Nucleus” by Tim Upham of Fort Collins will be a 24-foot tall multi-colored spiral piece, symbolizing the creative spark and the intersection of art and science. Upham was chosen from 73 Colorado applicants to create this signature piece. He is using those perforated discs of weathered steel in the sculpture.
Once inside, the same steel treatment wraps the theater section thrusting upward to and through the skylights. Knowing our 300 days of Colorado sunshine would help with lighting and heating costs, much natural light has been incorporated into the design. As you walk in the front doors a 3000 square foot art gallery and multi-purpose room lie to your right with two entire walls made entirely of windows opening up to Sulpher Gulch and a view of the Rocky Mountain skyline.
If you know the area you will likely see families riding their bikes on the trail, the PACE Center will have bike racks available so that you’ll be able to skip any traffic backups and take the trails to an event, classes or just to enjoy the Harmony Park which will be the first of it’s kind in the Denver Metro area.
This room attaches to a full gourmet working kitchen to the North, with a large covered outdoor space to have music, cocktail party, or a small reception. Even the green room that the actors wait in before going on stage enjoys views outside along with a flat screen TV monitor to catch the action on stage.
ABOUT THE PACE CENTER
Located in Historic Old Town Parker two blocks east of Parker Road and Mainstreet, the PACE Center is home to a 536-seat theater, the 250-seat amphitheater, art gallery, event room, dance studio, culinary kitchen and several classrooms. The PACE Center provides a wide variety of local, regional, national and international cultural, arts, scientific and educational programming to the region and serves as a rental venue for community, business, and social events. For more information about Parker’s NEW Center for the Arts, visit ParkerArts.org