Case Study

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater New Theater Performs Beautifully, on Stage and Off

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

The Challenge

Salt Lake City envisioned a contemporary performing arts venue as a main draw to its downtown Arts District – a place that would become an economic catalyst and attract first-run touring Broadway shows and concerts, while boosting the city’s cultural image. The city and county’s commitment to energy self-sufficiency by 2032 meant that the new building’s design had to deliver a high-performing, ultra-low energy consumption building.

The Design Solution

To meet the client’s ambitious energy reduction targets, sustainability and performance goals were embedded into the design from the outset, without affecting the project’s moderate budget and aggressive schedule.

Design strategies included reducing the solar heat gain and the overall building envelope performance to decrease the energy demand while achieving thermal comfort for theater patrons and performers. Reduced window-to-wall ratios, combined with high-performing glass and roof insulation, contributed significantly, as did installing specific mechanical systems in different event spaces throughout the theater, selected according to their volume and use.

The Design Impact

During its first two seasons and one full operational year, the LEED Gold performance venue, which opened in October 2016, used just 30 percent of its budgeted utilities costs. That resulted in saving an estimated $466,000 of predicted energy costs.

Project Features

  • 2,500-seat main performance hall
  • 200-seat multi-use theater (dance stage, lecture hall or reception space)
  • Outdoor urban plaza space for music, parties, and community or private gatherings
  • LEED Gold certified


  • 2017 Silver Award, The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), for Best Public-Private Partnership
  • 2017 APA Utah Award of Merit
  • 2017 ACI Intermountain Chapter Excellence in Concrete Award
  • 2016 Utah Construction and Design Most Outstanding Project, Entertainment
  • 2016 Utah Masonry Council Excellence in Masonry