Case Study

Ballet West Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre and Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre Renovation A New Dance Partner

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

The Challenge

To build a new modern ballet center and connect it to the historic theater building next door.

The Design Solution

The 57,500-square-foot ballet center incorporates thematic elements from the old theater along with more contemporary designs. It is connected and integrated with the old theater by a full-height glass atrium on the theater’s west wall. The center’s angled, 150-foot-long facade references the aesthetic of the façade of its neighbor.

The project was handled in two phases. The 1,780-seat renovation of the historic older studio was completed in 2013 and the Ballet West studio expansion was wrapped up a year later.

Among the renovations in the first phase, the stage was raised to improve sightlines, dispersed ADA locations were added, and all seating was completely refurbished in the older Capitol Theater, which opened in 1913.

The second phase included the construction of six dance studios for Ballet West adjacent to Capitol Theatre. New theater programming was also added in this phase including the expansion of the theater lobby, the addition of over 30 restroom fixtures and the construction of costume storage and workshops with direct access to the theater at the basement level.

The Design Impact

The new building and its union with the Capitol Theatre is the catalyst of a burgeoning cultural district in downtown Salt Lake City. The project is LEED Gold certified.

Project Features

  • 75,000 sf (6,967 sm) renovation
  • 1,780-seat historic theatre renovation
  • 57,500 square feet (5,341 sm) expansion
  • Six new dance studios
  • Central art gallery
  • Hosting facilities
  • Rooftop garden and bar
  • LEED Gold certified


  • 2014 Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Utah , Award of Excellence
  • 2014 Utah Construction & Design, Outstanding Projects of the Year – Entertainment

It is always complicated when you add a brand-new piece of architecture with a really old piece of architecture, but that is what I think the genius of HKS has been. To make the old and the new come together in an elegant way.

Ballet West Artistic Director