Center of Creative Arts (COCA) is a non-profit community arts center with a mission to enrich lives and build community through the arts. COCA is the fourth largest multidisciplinary community arts center in the country and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS).

To better serve their growing student body, the COCA underwent a major renovation and expansion. The Ferring East Wing expansion features a state of the art Berges Theatre with full fly loft and orchestra pit while also housing three new Dance Studios to fill the needs of their ever expanding community classes and summer camps. The renovation scope handled with great care the restoration of the 1950 Eric Mendelsohn designed B'nai Amoona Synagogue with the goal that the interior would more closely match the original architecture. Under the high arching roof is the new flexible Staenberg Performance Lab with seating and technical grid for informal presentation/event space where seating is retractable to allow for large dance rehearsal and banquet type events. The renovation also transformed the expanded congregation portion of the original sanctuary into two new dance studios for an overall project total of 5 new dance studios for their program. Other features of the project include a new lobby/pre-function space, office, green room and a new scene shop. Through dance, vocal music, theatre, art and design, and beyond, COCA’s mission is to nurture the artistic and creative potential in their students—and the St. Louis community.

Project Details
Audiovisual Systems Design
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Sound Isolation
Christner, Inc., Architect of Record, St. Louis, MO
Axi:Ome, Design Architect, St. Louis, MO
Schuler Shook, Theatre Consultant, Chicago, IL
450-seat theatre
$29.1 million total, $3.5 million renovation, $25.6 million expansion
St. Louis
2020 AIA St. Louis Distinguished Award for Architecture