The newly expanded and renovated Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers of Milwaukee. The 163,000-square-foot arts and humanities center transforms the former Communication Arts Building into a state-of-the-art education and performance space for the university’s growing Music, Theatre Arts, and Art departments while positioning the UW-Parkside campus as a regional cultural center.
Located on the southwest corner of campus, the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities—also known as ‘The Rita’—incorporates 91,000 square feet of renovated space and 72,000 square feet of new construction. Most prominently, the project realigns the main entrance to the west side of the former Communication Arts Building to create a grand entrance lobby, in which expansive windows overlook a circular drive and plaza.
The design complements the existing architectural character and massing of the main academic buildings—the former Communication Arts Building, Wyllie Hall, Greenquist Hall, and Molinaro Hall—featuring exposed concrete, matching brick, bronze-tinted windows, and an internal concourse system that reinforces circulation.
The renovation consists of three main additions, with the Music Department occupying an addition on the south side of the building, the Theatre Arts and Art departments occupying an addition on the north side, and the new grand entrance lobby on the west side.
Interior planning accommodates each department’s requirement.