The John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center
was designed by
, an award-winning professional practice located in
Cambridge, Mass., that provides services in architecture, planning
and interior design. Founded in 1971, Gund Partnership has been
honored with more than 100 national and regional awards for design
excellence and has received wide critical acclaim and professional
recognition for its work.
The design for the 122,000-square-foot facility was a result of
Gund Partnership's bold interpretation of the grandeur of the Great
Smoky Mountains. Partnership staff visited the Joyce Kilmer
National Forest and were inspired by the spiritual and cultural
home of the Cherokee. The architect's profound experience of
Western North Carolina's regional history, diverse mountain culture
and vernacular local architecture led to Gund's design.
Situated in the lush and temperate Cullowhee Valley,
the site of several early Cherokee settlements, the Fine and
Performing Arts Center features numerous Cherokee-inspired design
elements. In the main atrium, the tile floor design of a
seven-pointed star represents the seven Cherokee clans. Bilingual
signage throughout the facility uses English and the Cherokee
syllabary, developed in 1809 by Sequoyah to give his people their
first written language.