Gonzaga University

Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center

Spokane, Washington

We designed Gonzaga University’s new Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center, named for the Spokane resident, businesswoman and philanthropist, whose generous donation made the project a reality. Following a concurrent programming and site analysis process, which evaluated three potential locations, the western edge of campus was selected for its optimal point of arrival for patrons, its ideal relationship with campus circulation with river views, and for consistency with plans for future campus development. The 52,000-sf facility provides spaces for performance, rehearsal and instruction for the departments of music and theater & dance, and for a multi-disciplinary design studio. Along with the possibility of cross-disciplinary collaboration, comes enhanced engagement between the University and the Spokane community. In addition to an expansive lobby with views of the river, the balcony level features a museum-like series of spaces that pay tribute to the donor with a full-scale recreation of her living room, dining room and foyer, as inspiration for future generations to pursue self-empowerment.

The Center’s design is informed by the sloping site and its relationship to the campus, the Spokane River and the city. The brick exterior respects the campus architectural vernacular, while the interior design adopts the river as a metaphor, evoking the force of time on the river: basalt outcroppings, stratified riverbanks and exposed fractured rock.

Project Data

56,000 sf
LEED Silver


2020 Engineering News Report Northwest Cultural/Worship Best Project
2021 Architizer A+ Awards Special Mention Typology/Institution/Higher Education & Research Facilities
2022 United States Institute for Theatre Technology Merit Award

Program & Highlights

750-seat multipurpose theater
160-seat recital hall/rehearsal space
Multi-disciplinary design studio
Multi-level lobby


Structural/Civil Engineers: DCI Engineers
MEP: MW Consulting Engineers
Contractor: Lydig Construction Inc.
Theater Consultant: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Acoustics: Threshold Acoustics
Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Bernardo Wills Architects
Photographer: Ema Peter