New Cultural Center

McLaren Engineering Group is providing structural engineering services on the $130 million New Cultural Center in downtown Columbia, MD that will serve as both a visual arts and cultural hub for the city. The mixed-use arts facility will include a dinner theater, two black box theaters, a cantilevered dance studio, artist studios, classrooms, landscaped terraces, and event spaces. The center will also provide over 200 affordable housing units and over 700 parking spaces in a new garage, integral to the building’s footprint.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

McLaren is providing structural engineering services for the New Cultural Center. Due to the scale and geometry of the program components, a series of expansion joints are being used. This breaks the Center into four building structures, each with their own unique structural system, which are integrated into one functional space. The McLaren team also proposed alternate foundation systems to the project’s geotechnical engineer that incorporated the site-specific conditions to reduce the need for extensive rock removal.

The McLaren team is incorporating its extensive knowledge of theaters and performing arts venues to account for architectural, acoustical, and other considerations integral to a successful venue, like lighting position and scenery location. McLaren also designed long-span floor systems to span over the multiple theatre spaces and support the landscaped terraces above.