A Decade Long Collaboration with Utah State University's Fine Arts Complex Nears Completion

The award-winning practice Sparano + Mooney Architecture, known for creating sustainable and thoughtful architecture within the American West, has completed three notable buildings on the Utah State University Campus, with another signature building set to open in 2025.


Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex: Prominent view of the new building with the theatrical costume production shop in view. Photo credit:
Jeremy Bittermann

The firm's long-standing work at Utah State University in Logan, UT has resulted in significant expansions, renovations, and new construction of three state-of-the-art buildings for the school’s Fine Arts Campus: Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex, Daines Concert Hall, and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA). The newest building, the Art Research & Education Center at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, is anticipated to open in 2025 and will be located adjacent to NEHMA. Though completed over many years, the work collectively shares a commitment to restrained forms and innovative material detailing that responds both to the campus’ natural surroundings and the unique relationships between each building.


NEHMA: The porosity of the façade invites glimpses into the museum by the passerby, and at night the activity and exhibitions housed within glow through this façade. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA)

The original Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) building was designed by American architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and completed in 1982 as an expansion of the larger Fine Arts Center on the campus of Utah State University (USU). Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s design of the museum’s new addition is a quietly restrained form that does not compete with nor mimic the existing museum nor the adjacent signature building, a 2006 Sasaki-designed Performing Arts Center. Rather the addition creates a new public plaza that connects the two buildings in a neutral response to a visually complex context.


NEHMA: The 9,000 SF addition includes an entry, lobby, museum store, café, galleries, and art storage and curatorial components. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann


NEHMA: By separating the perforated zinc screen from the building envelope at the entry level, the campus circulation flows directly into and through the museum. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann


NEHMA: Clear glazing at the new and existing lobby spaces provides a direct connection and visibility to the exterior courtyards. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann

Daines Concert Hall

The Newel and Jean Daines Concert Hall project includes the complete renovation of the former Kent Concert Hall to create a new state-of-the-art space for orchestra, band, and choral programs. The renovation includes a new acoustical shell; acoustically reconfigured walls and finishes; and upgraded theatrical, audio, and lighting equipment to enhance the acoustic performance of the venue for both performers and audiences. The new concert hall serves audiences throughout the region with world-class music and programming in a newly renovated and state-of-the-art cultural facility.


Daines Concert Hall: The new design allows for over 1,700 new theater audience seats and improvements to building systems, including acoustical and HVAC, to decrease ambient noise levels. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann

Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex 

Part of the Utah State University Department of Theatre Arts and the Caine College of the Arts, this project includes the expansion and renovation of the existing Scene and Costume Shops, which support the Morgan Theatre and other local theatrical venues. The new 8,000-square-foot addition by Sparano + Mooney Architecture provides the necessary tooling, layout, equipment, and storage space for the design and construction of theatrical scenery, including a new paint booth and dust evacuation system. The upper level of the facility provides new work and teaching space for theatrical costume production, including new sewing stations, layout and work tables, fabric storage, fitting rooms, a dye vat, laundry facilities, and faculty offices.


Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex: The new 8,000 SF facility sits on an acre of campus property. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann


Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex: Inside the theatrical costume production shop designed to embrace the expansive mountain view beyond. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann


Sid Perkes Theatrical Design Complex: Inside the new Scene and Costume Shops. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann

Art Research & Education Center at NEHMA

Anticipated to open summer or fall 2025, the newest campus work will be adjacent to the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art and accommodate 40% more collection storage for the museum. According to Executive Director & Chief Curator, Katie Lee Koven, one of the important goals for the building is to accommodate the museum’s growing collection and support its 21st-century learning needs by creating learning spaces that are more engaged. Rather than act as additional gallery space, the new building will have a visible storage area that showcases a more accessible experience of stored museum items. Visitors will also be able to see how the museum cares for and stores objects, will allow them to search the database, and open drawers in an effort to engage with and learn about art in a more personal, explorative way.


Sparano + Mooney Architecture's ongoing work on the Utah State University campus has spanned seven years. The firm's prominent new addition to the NEHMA museum can be seen to the right. Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann

About Sparano + Mooney Architecture 

Sparano + Mooney Architecture is known for creating compelling spaces that connect people with their communities and landscape. Over the past two decades they have built a reputation for delivering landmark designs for arts and cultural facilities, such as museums, concert halls, film and theater projects, and cultural centers for civic agencies and non-profit institutions. Sparano seamlessly integrates new buildings into a variety of high-altitude contexts with heightened cultural and historic significance. Mooney brings more than 25 years of experience to her role of overseeing planning, programming, design and design process management of the firm’s key projects. The team's architectural solutions are rooted in tradition and history while also embracing cutting-edge technology, materials and details to reflect and elevate the broad communities the architecture serves.