Culture & the Arts

Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater - Chautauqua, NY

In December 2015, the board at Chautauqua Institution chose to move forward on the renewal project focusing on creating an iconic 81,482 sq. ft. structure for centuries to come. After significant review and planning efforts, replacing it was determined as the best next step. With some properties within 10 ft. of the site perimeter and the need to protect a $3 million organ, logistics planning was imperative. Demolition of the structure successfully took place on September 14th with accolades from neighbors.


After site work and foundations, over 800 tons of steel was erected for the expanded bowl and roof structure which was secured to bedrock. Some items varied from design documentation that had to be addressed during construction such as utility lines moved and depths of caisson for the foundation. With Chautauqua’s 2017 season only 9 months away from demolition, not only did the time-line create challenges, but so did the weather, tight site constraints, custom bench supplier and protecting the organ.   
The new amp features a 5,000 seat front-of-house venue and a three-story, 75,000 sq. ft. back-of-house support facility for artists, guests and production crews. The existing two-story chamber and famous Massey Memorial Organ were preserved, protected and embedded in the heart of the new amphitheater reconstruction. The new facility also has ADA-compliant accessibility, an enlarged stage area and 100-musician orchestra pit. Our team worked 7 days a week to meet their completion goal and the amp opened on-time to record attendance in June 2017.   

Burchfield Penney Art Center - Buffalo, NY

The Burchfield Penney Art Center is approximately 84,000 sq. ft. in size and includes exhibition galleries, art storage and support spaces, classrooms, an auditorium, offices, a café, a reception space and a retail shop. The facility’s state-of-the-art design incorporates innovative temperature and humidity control systems, which maintain a constant environment to protect valuable artwork. In some areas, calibrations are so precise that variations of only two percent humidity and three degrees are permitted. Sophisticated security, building management, and lighting systems ensure that this facility operates with the most advanced technologies available. The building has also been constructed according to “green building” principles, and was awarded LEED-Silver certification from the US Green Building Council shortly after opening to the public.


At the time of bidding, this construction manager as agent project had an estimated construction cost of $19.7 million. Actual construction bids came in under budget, however, at $19.2 million. The final construction cost for the facility was $21.9 million. This final number incorporates several owner and architect scope enhancements, most of which were added to increase the efficiency of the MEP system and to preserve design aesthetics.


The original projected completion date was May 2008. Due to scope enhancements, however, the project was substantially completed in August and commissioned for a grand opening in September 2008. In order to proactively manage the project schedule, our team procured unique materials well in advance. The zinc panels that cover the building’s exterior, for example, are procured in France and sized in Vancouver. Such materials were ordered early in the construction phase and stored until needed on site, preventing delays that might have otherwise stalled construction progress.