Interlochen Center for the Arts | Lewis Dance Building

Interlochen, Michigan


Flansburgh Architects


Interlochen Center for the Arts


21,500 sq.ft.

Completion Date


Design Team
David Croteau (Principal-in-Charge) Kelley Banks (Project Manager)
Betsy Garcia (Project Architect)

Founded in 1928, Interlochen Center for the Arts has inspired generations of artists on its scenic Michigan campus. Students study music, theater, visual arts, film, creative writing, and dance, guided by outstanding faculty and guest artists. This project involves renovating and expanding the existing dance building to provide five studios, changing rooms, offices, and other support spaces. The project also includes structural and mechanical upgrades to the existing masonry and wood-framed building.

The design was developed through an inclusive process involving staff, dancers, faculty, board members, and donors. The project ensures ceilings are tall enough for dancers to lift one another, and the floor is large enough for long passes. Studios are non-rectangular to mitigate sound reflections.

Interlochen’s transparent design creates a peaceful, open space for artistic expression. The studio addition takes its cues from the Kresge Auditorium, a mid-century outdoor amphitheater with an open-air feel and exposed steel structure. Surrounded by glass walls, each studio is strategically placed with sweeping views of the lake. Studios have acoustical metal decks to absorb sound, as well as access to outdoor decks and performance areas. Corner windows frame the sky, inviting sunlight to shine along studio walls.

Studios are organized around two new lobbies: an upper studio lobby and a lower dancer seating area. The arrangement visually connects all spaces and enables viewers to see multiple rehearsals at once, fostering a sense of community.

The new dance facility harmonizes with Interlochen’s rich setting. Serving as the last building on Interlochen’s Avenue of the Arts, visitors enjoy gazing across the lake from the terrace. The building’s exterior façade elicits the look of tree bark, blending in with the natural environment. Aesthetically integrated with pristine water and quiet pines, dancers feel at home, and visitors feel immersed in Interlochen’s beautiful campus.

Additional Information


Special Citation

Featured in

2022 Architectural Portfolio



Interior category

Auditoriums/Music Rooms

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