STEPS is a dance academy based in Panama City since 1986. It is located in an industrial warehouse that has been transformed to house several classrooms suitable for multi-discipline dance activities and related workouts such as pilates and yoga. SKETCH has been tasked with the renovation of the building’s top floor, formerly used as a gym, to be transformed into two full-size performing halls, two pilates workout studios, toilets, and changing rooms.
The project was approached as a low cost intervention that aims to enhance the spatial qualities of the space, smartly understanding the height limitation set by the double pitched roof, and locating auxiliary areas at the edges, such as viewing and staging areas. The main performing hall is housed in the middle of the floor plan, accessible by two staircases that lead to multiple spaces within the top level, allowing for uninterrupted access to all the performing areas by the students, and direct access to the studios by visitors. This main hall also serves as a gathering space for the more than one hundred students enrolled in the dance school. In the absence of natural light, the studio is illuminated by several rows of lamps that bring a bright and uniform ambience light to the space. A mirror clad surrounding wall helps increase the visual perception of the space and aid in the teaching of dance abilities while subtle color accents have been used in some of the elements such as the solution designed to hang the lamps, storage cabinets and seating areas.