Dallas Center for the Performing Arts pick Architects

December 4, 2001

Architects named for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts

Selection Committee Chooses Two Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates

DALLAS (December 4, 2001) - The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation Board of Directors announced today its selection of the two architectural firms that will design the center's largest theaters. London-based Foster and Partners will design the 2,400-seat lyric theater. The 800-seat multiform theater will be designed by Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture of Rotterdam.

The lyric theater will be home to opera, ballet, musical theater and other large-scale productions, while the multiform theater will provide flexible stage space for theater, dance and other performing arts. An alternate performance space to be used by small-size and midsize performing arts organizations including dance, theater and music - the size, dimension and configuration of which is yet to be determined - is also envisioned for the center. When it is completed, the center will house an array of artistic performances in a campus-like setting expected to become the cultural heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District.

'Based on the first-rate short lists we constructed, it was impossible to make anything but exceptional choices,' said John Dayton, co-chair of the architect selection committee and board member of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.

Currently in the quiet phase of fund-raising, the proposed Dallas Center for the Performing Arts is the most ambitious building project for the arts in the history of Dallas. In addition to the landmark architectural structures certain to become local icons, the new center will feature state-of-the-art stage facilities incorporating cutting-edge theater design, technology and acoustics. A series of inviting indoor and outdoor spaces will create a civic gathering place for citizens and visitors seeking entertainment and cultural experiences in a vibrant urban setting.

The City of Dallas, the Dallas Opera and the performing arts community have spent $13 million over the past year to acquire land for the site, which is in the southeast quadrant of the Arts District, between Ross Avenue and Woodall Rodgers Freeway. An unprecedented $96 million has already been pledged by individuals, companies and organizations for the center's construction. Private sources of funding are expected to constitute approximately 80 percent of the center's final cost. These new spaces will allow many Dallas arts organizations, including the Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and more, to stage productions that will attract broader audience support.

'This is our one chance to truly create a heart of the city,' said Deedie Rose, co-chair of the architect selection committee and board member of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation. 'Both on and off the stages, this public space will be a place for the citizens of Dallas and its visitors to learn from and be inspired by the art presented, as well as be a place to gather and spend time.'

Foster and Partners has considerable expertise in the design of significant civic, cultural and educational complexes. World- renowned Norman Foster was the 1999 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the architecture equivalent of the Nobel Prize. He was recently the subject of an extensive exhibition at the British Museum, evidence of his status as a national treasure. Some of the firm's most high-profile work includes the new Great Court at the British Museum in London, the world's largest airport in Hong Kong, and the new German Parliament within Berlin's historic Reichstag. Foster and Partners has experience in the design of large institutions, evidenced by the Carré d'Art in Nîmes, France; the Stanford University Center for Clinical Science Research in Stanford, Calif.; and the Congress Centre in Valencia, Spain. Work is currently underway on a new masterplan for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Metropolitan, a mixed-use development in Warsaw; the Hearst Corporation headquarters addition in New York; and the Music Centre in Gateshead, England. The Foster and Partners team will include Spencer de Grey, one of three design partners alongside Norman Foster. Mr. de Grey has been in charge of a wide range of projects for the firm including the Law Faculty for the University of Cambridge; the new Botanical Gardens for Wales; and the Great Court at the British Museum. He lectures widely for the practice and was made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 1997.

Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture have been intensely involved in building and urban planning projects since 1980. Mr. Koolhaas, regarded as one of the profession's most inventive thinkers, was the 2000 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. This year, he was declared a member of the Legion d'Honneur, the highest French honor awarded for public service, professional activity and outstanding achievement. After his education at the Architectural Association School in London, he studied at Cornell University and became a visiting Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York. He is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University where he leads a series of research projects focusing on the urban condition. Mr. Koolhaas and OMA are responsible for The Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague; the Kunsthal Rotterdam; the Lille Grand Palais; and the Guggenheim Las Vegas. Mr. Koolhaas and OMA are currently providing design services to Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal; the Seattle Public Library; and three retail "epicenters" for Italian fashion house Prada. The OMA team will include Dan Wood, a project leader who has focused on the firm's U.S.-based work for the past four years. Mr. Wood led the master plan design for Universal Studios in Los Angeles; the Second Stage Theatre in New York City; and several other master planning projects. Design work on the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts will begin in early 2002. Both firms plan to research Dallas extensively prior to beginning design work and will collaborate with a team of theater design consultants, acousticians and other specialists who will ensure function as well as form. Construction of the project's theaters is expected to begin in 2004, with completion estimated in 2007.

After many years of planning, the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts formed its foundation in September 2000 as a Texas nonprofit corporation. The foundation's purpose is to raise funds for the development of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts and shepherd the project through design and construction. The project is a public/private initiative and has had the backing of City Hall and Dallas voters on two previous bond referenda, in which voters approved funding to buy the land that will be the future site of the center.

Theatre Projects—the theatre design consultant— has been involved in programming the center since the mid 1990's. Prior to that Theatre Projects was part of the planning process of the Dallas Arts District since 1984.

Dallas Center for the Performing Arts pick Architects
Credit: Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation