You are here

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

-A A +A
1966–1967, Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff. 100 S. Virginia St.
  • Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts (Julie Nicoletta)

The Pioneer Center replaced a structure erected in 1926 as the “permanent” home of the Nevada Historical Society. The geodesic-domed center dominates the concrete and brick plaza lying immediately to its west. From the front, the building evokes a bird that has swooped down to the ground with its wings spread. The firm of Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff of Oklahoma City designed the dome, using the technololgical principles established by R. Buckminster Fuller for a lightweight but strong structure. The gold anodized aluminum roof, 140 feet in diameter, rests on five post-tensioned concrete arches. TEMCOR, a company in Torrance, California, fabricated and erected the roof, which consists of 500 faceted panels supported by an interior steel-frame dome. The center's 1,428-seat theater provides a venue for most of northern Nevada's performing arts groups, as well as for traveling shows.

Washoe County's selection of the geodesic dome design displayed a conscious attempt by government leaders to build public structures that presented Reno as a modern, progressive city. At this time, other cities were also choosing the geodesic dome for public buildings, not only as a symbol of scientific and cultural progress but also because the structures were relatively inexpensive to erect.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts", [Reno, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 71-71.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.