Debut in Dallas


Image Justin Turveen/Courtesy of Dallas Cultral Affairs

by Chris Bentley

Last month the City of Dallas opened the City Performance Hall, a “village for the arts” meant to help cap off its growing arts district. Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill took that title to heart, seeking input from local artists and opting for elegance in the presence of its commanding neighbors, the REX/OMA-designed Wyly Theater and Norman Foster’s Winspear Opera House.

Exposed concrete walls add texture to the performance space, as well as a canvas for lighting design by Schuler Shook. A programmable LED wall acts as a curtain onstage; its electric presence adding to a sense of motion along the striations of the concrete walls. The 750-seat theater is linked to two 200-seat performance halls and several smaller rooms by a series of curving roofs, producing a physical through-line, or spine, for the myriad Dallas performance groups that will share the spaces.

Local input was critical to the ultimate success of the structure, which will house many of Dallas’ smaller performance troupes and artist groups. If art is a societal endeavor, this publicly funded project hopes to give its foot soldiers a home to hone their crafts.