Project ArchiTX: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School – Dell Fine Arts Center

Project ArchiTXSTG Design illustrates its deft design ability in the execution of a large-scale theater program focused on audience intimacy at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.

Dell Fine Arts Center

Project St. Andrew's Episcopal School — Dell Fine Arts Center, Austin
Client St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Architect STG Design
Photographer Casey Dunn

STG Design designed and master-planned the St. Andrew's Episcopal high school campus in 1997. The Dell Fine Arts Center is the last element necessary to complete the school’s vision. The 46,400-sf structure consists of a 400-seat proscenium theater and a 125-seat black box theater. With an emphasis on intimacy, the design began with a prerequisite maximum distance of 70 feet from any spectator to the actors on the stage. Subdivided into two tiers, the auditorium space is proportioned to provide the sense of a “sold out” audience, whether 250 or 400 are in attendance.

The north elevation of the Fine Arts Center features an over-scaled porch entry, which welcomes visitors and provides space for pre-function and intermission activities. The glassy facade blurs the distinction of the interior and exterior lobbies and underscores the expansive and celebratory character of the Center, which at night becomes a brightly lit beacon for the school's activities.

The building design echoes the architectural vocabulary of the existing campus with shed roof forms, deep porches, ample north-facing glass, and covered walkways. Materials include patterned C.I.P. concrete, limestone, metal panels with color shifts, and a glass curtain wall to complement the campus’ regional palette and provide an updated aesthetic for this state-of-the-art complex.

The 400-seat Dell Theater has greatly enhanced St. Andrew's performing arts program.

Rehearsal at the 125-seat black box Nazro Lab Theater.

The lobby entry plaza welcomes visitors and broadcasts artistic endeavors back out to the campus.

The east side of the building connects to the academic portion of St. Andrew's campus.

plan

St. Andrew's Episcopal School — Dell Fine Arts Center Site Plan – drawing by STG Design

"Project ArchiTX" is a column on the Texas Society of Architects blog that highlights outstanding architectural projects in Texas, as well as projects designed by Texas architects. The series combines an architectural narrative written by the architect with a photographic essay illustrating the features and techniques demonstrated in the design process. Is there a project you'd like to see featured in "Project ArchiTX"? Email communications@texasarchitects.org to let us know.