SANDY Architect Russell Platt's designs for the Proscenium theater complex were inspired by his art-loving family and his daily runs in the mountains of the Wasatch Front.
The undulating curves of the proposed three glass towers are a tribute to the majesty of water-carved granite found in Utah's peaks, he said. And "green" elements such as walkability, high density, a garden atop one roof and wind-powered turbines disguised as sculptural elements will help ensure those mountains can be enjoyed for years to come.
The modernistic structures will achieve a timeless look with the curves, and use of space and materials, Platt said. The first building is expected to house a 2,400-seat Broadway roadhouse theater, a performing-arts high school, offices, a spa and hotel and high-end condominiums. A ritzy private club providing panoramas of the valley from 40 stories up could top off the project.
But the towers will be drastically different from anything else in downtown Sandy. In fact, the development as planned violates several clauses of current building restrictions, though it falls in line with some elements of a downtown Sandy master plan written in 2002.
Platt has suggested changing the city building rules for the zone around Sandy's civic center, which includes the proposed Proscenium project. The suggested changes would give the planning commission discretion on building heights in the zone and would do away with a requirement that all buildings follow a theme and use only earth tones for exteriors.
The ordinance has been approved by the Planning Commission but is stalled by the City Council, which has final say. It is unclear how the planning commission would enforce its decisions if the lax ordinance were passed.
"Our thought is that the Planning Commission could take a look at each project on a case-by-case basis," said city zoning administrator Brian McCuistion.
If built as planned, the Proscenium towers would be about four times as high as Sandy's current highest structures at Jordan Commons. The development is far enough away from the mountains that it won't obstruct views, Platt said, adding that he wouldn't have considered building this project farther east.
Platt said he also wouldn't want this project built in downtown Salt Lake City, where high-rise buildings compete for sunlight. Luckily, the Proscenium will be connected to the capital city's art centers via TRAX lines, he said.
The Proscenium's location also would be great for students, Platt said. A recent traffic study confirmed hopes that the area would be great for traffic entry and exit and readily accessible from both Salt Lake and Utah counties.
Platt is thrilled about creating space for the school. All his children are pianists, he said, and he plays the French horn. His wife is a violinist and his father, with whom he runs the architecture firm, fills the office with abstract oil paintings.
The school section would have three large spaces, one each for art, theater and music, Platt said. The 10 floors of the first building also would have rows of practice rooms that passers-by could see into and a huge shop for loading and designing sets.
The different uses of the Proscenium would be kept apart by separate lobbies and several banks of elevators, said Platt, unable to keep from grinning.
"They'll never see each other," he said, asserting that a professional atmosphere would be maintained.
Spa and four-star hotel users would have a quick way to reach their lobby, which would be about halfway up the tower. Platt plans to leave a rectangular hole there for an open-air deck. Residents also would have a private elevator, but the small and large theater spaces would share an east-facing lobby, whose outer walls would follow the undulations of the towers above.
Platt has designed two temples for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one in Newport Beach, Calif., and one in Redlands, Calif. but has never worked on a skyscraper before."I'm just really enjoying working on a world-class project," he said.
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