The Buxton Center for Bainbridge Performing Arts

LMN Architects designed The Buxton Center for Bainbridge Performing Arts with a wood and glass curtain wall, a wave-form roof, sustainable elements, and a strong connection to the Bainbridge Island community.

  • area / size 16,717 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • LMN Architects celebrates the completion of The Buxton Center for Bainbridge Performing Arts on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The project marks a new era for performers and the arts community in the Pacific Northwest.

    The completed Buxton Center is now open to welcome artists, visitors, and patrons on Bainbridge Island. The project is a new state-of-the-art cultural space intended to facilitate a stronger connection to the civic heart of the island. A wood and glass curtain wall encloses the two-story lobby space, immersing patrons in the lush woodland landscape during the day and creating a welcoming beacon at night. The adjacent flexible studio serves as a separate performance venue and provides a primary home to the Bainbridge Performing Arts Theatre School program.

    A dramatic wave-form roof and ceiling plane of expressed wood structure ties together the new program spaces and gives the building a clear identity. A new lobby space looks out onto the plaza, providing views out to the natural environment, while simultaneously providing transparency for passersby to glimpse the activity within. The fully renovated auditorium includes a reconfigured seating bowl with sound and light locks, enhanced sightlines, and improved accessibility for all patrons. The redesign of the auditorium also includes new finishes and energy-efficient lighting, along with revitalized support spaces and building systems.

    During the design process, the team prioritized sustainability and creating a connection to the island’s history and ecology. Featuring natural tones and material choices, the project celebrates the landscape and architectural history of Bainbridge Island. Wood hues and accents in the lobby ceiling and floors are juxtaposed with blackened steel fixtures, while the auditorium entrances are marked by red highlights. The Center’s new community gathering space is furnished with a custom-built bar and concessions area, produced by a local woodworker using salvaged timber from the Bloedel Reserve. The second level features a small communal area that overlooks the studio and lobby below. Targeting LEED Gold certification, the Buxton Center includes a rooftop solar array, an expanded rain garden, and a more efficient HVAC system.

    The renewed Buxton Center aims to strengthen the public connection within the downtown—creating a cultural and civic campus, including City Hall, Town Square and its weekly farmer’s market, and the Island’s Historical Museum. The Buxton Center is set to reinvigorate the local arts community and continue enriching the cultural heart of Bainbridge Island. The two-story building broke ground in the fall of 2021 and was completed in the fall of 2023. Almost 1,000 people attended the center’s grand opening on September 30th and had the opportunity to experience the new studio theater and main auditorium.

    Design: LMN Architects
    Design Team: Vanessa Abin-Fuentes, John Aldredge, Julie Adams, John Aldredge, Kjell Anderson, David Backs, Dean Clark, Michael Day, Cameron Irwin, Veronica Macalinao, Chris Patterson, Wendy Pautz, Erik Perka, Todd Schwisow, Mark Tumiski, Jenni Whitney
    Contractor: Carley Construction
    Photography: Lara Swimmer