Living Arts College

Aiming High.

Aerial view of Living Arts College’s Monolithic Dome campus.

Mike South / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Living Arts College is a state-of-the-art campus with three connected Monolithic Domes on eight acres in Raleigh, North Carolina. Designed to house the cutting edge of digital arts and design equipment, media and curriculum, the complex was completed in 2004.

Rick Crandall, the Mesa, Arizona-based architect who designed the campus, says clients sometimes want domes that blend in with the surrounding architecture. That was not the case with this project. “This is a case where the shape of the dome was sought after because it was unique and unusual,” he says. “Because it is a high-tech school, they also liked the idea of using new materials, means and methods.”

High Definition.

A 200-seat theater with HD projection and mixing stage.

Mike South / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The futuristic Monolithic Dome campus had the desired effect. Upon seeing the college for the first time, a consultant for the school exclaimed, “This looks like the art school of the 25th century!”

The three domes of Living Arts College are connected by a flat-roofed, traditional structure. Each dome is 120 feet (36.6 m) in diameter and 34 feet (10.3 m) tall. The almost 43,000-square-foot (4000 m²) property includes a recording studio with three control rooms, a drum room, a film stage, a green-screen studio, a performance studio, large format printers, a reception area, an event gallery and a serving kitchen. A 200-seat, high-definition theater with a high-end sound, lights and mixing stage includes an editing and audio suite for the school’s digital filmmaking program.

The school chose Monolithic Domes because of their free-span interiors, energy efficiency and the ease with which they could insulate the studios from outside noise pollution. And, because they are in North Carolina, they were drawn to the domes because they are impervious to hurricanes.

In 2015, Living Arts College decided to upgrade the exterior of the three domes with steel cladding. The director of the college at the time reported the steel cladding was added mainly for aesthetics. A major reason for this upgrade, she said, was to remove the need to repaint the domes. She described the makeover as “expensive but beautiful.”

Many private career colleges in America have been closing, citing changes in governmental funding rules. Living Arts College’s website states, “After 30-plus years as a pioneering source of star media talent, Living Arts College is being forced to retire from the scene.”

This campus is currently for sale.

Newly Clad.

As of 2016, Living Arts College Campus has a new metal cladding exterior.

Mike South / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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