Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Annex

Location: Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania
Completion: 2016
Project Area: 14,000 ft2
Market: Civic
Services: Architecture, Interior Design 

At a time when some dance companies are struggling to keep their doors open, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre set out on an ambitious plan to expand the PBT School and bolster its presence in the region and dance community at large.

A key component of this plan is a 14,000-square-foot annex, designed by IKM Incorporated architects of Pittsburgh. The annex is a much needed expansion for the PBT which has run out of space at its Strip District location. The $6.5 million annex, which will be connected to the PBT’s current building, will house two dance studios, expanded facilities for Pilates and other fitness classes, more space for locker rooms and changing areas, and study areas.

Enrollment at the PBT school has increased 75 percent over the past 10 years, the organization says. It projects that the new spaces in the annex will support a 40 percent enrollment increase over the next three years.

The current building, which houses its administrative offices and five rehearsal spaces, is where the company’s 30 full-time dancers rehearse and where the PBT instructs 1,000 students annually as part of its children’s, student, pre-professional and adult open divisions.

“The new studios will be larger, and less rectangular, which is better,” executive director Harris Ferris says. “Large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Liberty Avenue will add more light to the spaces as well,” he adds.

The project includes both new construction and renovation to the existing building. The focus of the new construction is a two and a half-story building to house the expanded program of educational and professional practice studios for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Renovation work will predominantly focus on connecting the new buildings to the existing building and infill of a lightwell at the second floor.