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Unveiled> Deep Space Auditorium

Cuningham Group designs a 14,300-seat underground auditorium with a six-acre green roof in rural Wisconsin.
Courtesy Cuningham Group

Deep Space Auditorium

Architect: Cuningham Group
Client: Epic Systems
Location: Verona, Wisconsin
Completion: Fall 2013

On an 800-acre site in verdant rural Wisconsin, Epic Systems, a healthcare records management company, has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past 13 years. The latest addition to Epic’s corporate and conference center headquarters will be a 600,000-square-foot underground auditorium with 14,300 seats. In keeping with a mission to leave much of the former farmstead untouched, the new auditorium features a six-acre green roof that blends into the rolling landscape, with bridle and walking paths, and water features doubling as geothermal heat sinks, part of an overall sustainability strategy that includes 3,576 geothermal wells.

Structurally, the auditorium employs 4,000 tons of steel (from Belgium and the United States) spanning 270 feet and supported by one transfer truss. The column-free auditorium will thus have clear sightlines to a large 45-foot-by-80-foot LED screen. Dedicated primarily to annual conferences and staff corporate meetings, the screen works interactively for audience members with personal tablets.

Julie V. Iovine