John Hara Associates, Inc., Architect; Honolulu, HI
Fisher/Dachs Associates, Inc., Theatre Consultant; New York, NY
The Maui Arts and Cultural Center is a highly functional space serving a wide variety of user groups. Though Maui has a number of established arts groups a symphony, choruses, dance and theater groups, the population of the island was small enough that many doubted it could build or sustain a performing arts center. It has done so by creative programming and by involving as many different parts of the community as possible.
The MACC complex includes a 1200 seat multi-purpose theater, a black box theater, offices, classrooms for the arts, and an art gallery, all arranged in an L-shaped ‘village’. A lava rock wall connects the ends of the L to enclose a large lawn used as an amphitheater, mostly for pops events. The lava rock wall also encloses a grassy mound, the traditional ‘stage’ for hula dancing.
The main theater has two balconies with side arms that extend towards stage. Balcony fronts are acoustically transparent wood grillage and the side arms are fairly widely spaced to ensure that the side walls are fully exposed to sound. The room’s walls are glass fiber reinforced gypsum with grout fill behind.
A corona of catwalks and reflectors in the middle of the room take care of technical needs while providing a visual focus. The room design is simple yet elegant – a fitting room for Maui.
The main theater is kept active throughout the year with local arts performances – drama, dance and music – and with touring groups that use Hawaii as a stepping stone to and from Asia. Creative programming includes a film series and a popular music festival. While tourists are encouraged to attend performances, the theater’s programming and its location in Kahului make it clear that the performing arts center is truly for the people of Maui.