The new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas, designed by Foster + Partners stuio, redefines theater of the XXI century, breaking down barriers to make the structure more accessible to a wider audience. In response to the climate of Dallas, a sort of horizontal brise soleil extends around the building from the sun while protecting the lobby, glazed, about 18 meters high. This establishes a direct relationship between internal and external, through increased accessibility and, therefore, “democratic” of the building. Under the brise soleil, which forms an integral part of environmental strategy adoption, there is a pedestrian plaza in the shadow which is a great new public space for Dallas, as defined by the master plan designed by Foster + Partners and OMA for AT & T Performing Arts Center.
Norman Foster said: “This project was created to offer a genuine democratic experience of the Work of the XXI century. We wanted to create a sense of immediacy – as soon as you enter the square outside until the opening of the curtain and we wanted the auditorium also expressed on the outside: the drum red glass is a symbol of performance, the glowing heart of the whole AT & T Performing Arts Center. “Internally, in fact, behind the glass screen, there are a number space to accommodate the public, surrounding the ‘drum’ red glass auditorium.
The transition from the Grand Plaza, through the lobby, the hall of the auditorium, was designed to increase the effect on viewers. The large scale, running from side to side around the drum, connects all the spaces of the lobby, providing the opportunity for the public to take a break, talk and observe. Cuts deep into the structure of the ‘drum’ allow the public to move horizontally around each of the four levels of balconies.
The auditorium for 2,200 seats, was designed to be more “intimate” as possible. A plant in a horseshoe, combined with the vertical overlap of the six levels of galleries, ensures that the public is as close as possible to the stage, thus enhancing the impact of performance. The distance between the stage and the balcony is small and the sense of intimacy is further enhanced dall’enfatizzazione fronts of the balconies with white gold finish that stands out against the rich dark red interior.
The carefully designed acoustics is also reinforced by the compactness of the room. The details and finishing improves the resonance of the human voice, making the orchestra sound rich and clear. A chandelier with 320 tubes of acrylic light cascade commissioned Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca to create a kind of tent “hypnotic” toward the stage, approaching the ceiling of the auditorium at the beginning of each performance. Vertical sliding glass panels move along the east façade, allowing the building, with its bars and restaurants to be completely open and further strengthening the sense of continuity in the transition between indoors and outdoors. Behind the bar, finally, there is Nancy Hammon Hall, designed for smaller performances, rehearsals, meetings and smaller events.
There are 7 pictures in this The Winspear Opera House in Dallas Foster blog post. Follow the thumbnail below to view all 7 high-res pictures.
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