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Dallas City Performance Hall, Dallas, Texas, USA

Issue 76 December / January 2014 : Architectural: Concert Hall

ARCHITECT: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Corgan Associates LIGHTING DESIGN: Schuler Shook


The Dallas City Performance Hall is the new lynch pin in the city’s burgeoning Arts District. Schuler Shook provided an adaptable lighting scheme suited to the building’s many uses.

The Dallas City Performance Hall is located in the city’s Arts District, which serves as a central performance venue for emerging arts groups. As the gateway to the Arts District, the hall is the newest building in a district where the first building, the Dallas Museum of Art, opened in 1984. The Arts District is the ultimate destination for the visual and performing arts in Dallas, and the architecture of each building within the district adds to the area’s cultural dominance.

Costing $40 million to build, the hall boasts a 750-seat proscenium theatre supported by a multilevel lobby as well as function spaces, backstage support spaces and offices. A second phase of construction, when completed, will add a further two flexible theatres, an art gallery, a café and rehearsal and classroom space.

Schuler Shook began work on the project in 2004, partnered with a team led by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Corgan Associates.

Sixty-nine of the area’s arts groups participated in the planning of the building. Schuler Shook used comments from meetings and interviews to assess the performing arts community’s needs and how the new building could serve them.

Using the collected data the planners developed six conceptual design schemes before each was evaluated for cost. One scheme was selected as the version thought best to move forward with, one that suited the allotted budget and was suitable for the building’s many users.

Between the lobby and the auditorium, two light wells allow daylight into the auditorium and LED RGB fixtures at the bottom of the wells allow for the addition of colour.

Within the auditorium itself LED RGB wash lights illuminate the upper ceiling with colour, while dimmable halogen wall-grazers add warmth to the room.

In both the lobby and the auditorium, the balcony edge railings include colour changing LED marker lights that allow further customisation in the appearance of the room, while the main lobby includes mounting locations and power for theatrical lighting, to support special events in this space.

In lieu of a traditional grand curtain, the stage has instead a unique LED mesh curtain with a black traveler behind. Schuler Shook and SOM envisioned this as a canvas for commissioned art and a palette for electronic creativity. The curtain is comprised of LED colour changing nodes that are located on 8” centres and controlled through an ETC Mosaic system.

The first artist to be commissioned to produce work for the curtain was Shane Pennington, his piece comprising a fifteen minute video loop showing digitalised figures walking in and out of shot. The figures were created from the film Pennington made of passersbys in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.

Theatrical, dimmed lighting circuits and a lighting control network are distributed throughout the auditorium and stage. Additional non-dim, 60A, three-phase outlets and show power disconnects have been placed in the catwalks, balcony rail, gridiron, pit, and around the stage. Relay-controlled switched receptacles allow remote on/off control for constant power devices such as moving lights, accessories, and LED fixtures. ETC Eos and Ion consoles have been provided for theatrical lighting control, with large Paradigm touch screens available for architectural control and preset recall.

The stage also includes a cue light system by GDS and stage edge marker lights. The lighting system is designed to handle the extremely wide range of production types, and also to easily accommodate future technologies.

The environmental credentials of the hall were also important, the design being created with the submission of the structure for LEED certification, with a goal of LEED Silver, very much in mind.

www.schulershook.com

 

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