Cowles Center

Renovation / retrofit of historic Shubert Theater building provided a 500-seat performance venue for a vibrant 38,000 SF dance-centered community arts center.  AD’s involvement spanned early project phases through design, commissioning and the center’s grand opening.  Services commenced with acoustic survey of existing conditions in the historic Shubert structure, master planning and programming respective of existing conditions and the Center’s anticipated events.  AD provided acoustic design criteria including room shaping and layout, room acoustics, sound isolation, noise and vibration control. 

As part of the revitalization, the Shubert building was moved two blocks adjacent to another historic building, the Hennepin Center, which houses administrative and rehearsal spaces for local arts organizations.  Together, they created the new Cowles Center.  AD provided acoustic design to adapt the Shubert structure to serve as the Center’s primary performance space and AV systems for both the Shubert and attached new atrium infill building connects the two buildings and serves as the Center’s lobby.  AV Systems design fostered patron engagement through exterior marquee signage and digital signage in lobby.  Distance learning systems enabled virtual artistic collaborations in the Center’s rehearsal space studio.   Acoustical design offered flexibility to accommodate a variety of programming that extends beyond the Center’s focus on dance and also provides a suitable performance environment for chamber music, voice ensemble concerts and theatrical productions.

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Cowles Center / Artspace

Minneapolis, MN

Project Type
Historic Renovation / Adaptive Reuse

$42 Million

Square Footage
20,575 SF Restoration/
Renovation and 17,500 SF Addition



Seat Count

Miller Dunwidde

Theatre Consultant
Shuler Shook

The Center anchors a performing arts landmark and builds on its legacy.  As the primary performance venue for an under-served element of a large vibrant arts community, the Center serves as the dance mecca of Minneapolis.    WebPhoto3_CowlesCenter   WebPhoto1_CowlesCenter

Acoustic and AV system design elements supported a broad range of programming and artistic collaboration to extend beyond dance. “The space acoustics supported a beautiful performance ….  the space is also ideal for chamber music”     

William Randall Beard
Star Tribune Review of Cantus Performance