Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre // OMA, REX

2403, Flora Street, Dallas, TX, United States

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors
Want to see your project featured like this?

Text description provided by the architects.

The Dallas Theater Center(DTC) is known for its innovative work, the result of its leadership’s constantexperimentation and the provisional nature of its long-time home. DTC washoused in the Arts District Theater, a dilapidated metal shed that freed itsresident companies from the limitations imposed by a fixed-stage configurationand the need to avoid harming expensive interior finishes.

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

The directors whoworked there constantly challenged the traditional conventions of theater andoften reconfigured the form of the stage to fit their artistic visions. As aresult, the Arts District Theater was renowned as the most flexible theater in America. Thecosts of constantly reconfiguring its stage, however, became a financial burdenand eventually DTC permanently fixed its stage into a “thrust-cenium.”Imagining a replacement for DTC’sold house raised several distinct challenges.

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

First, the new theater needed to engenderthe same freedoms created by the makeshift nature of its previous home. Second,the new venue needed to be flexible and multi-form while requiring minimaloperational costs.The Deeand Charles Wyly Theatre overcomes these challenges by overturning conventionaltheater design. Instead of circling front-of-house and back-of-house functionsaround the auditorium and fly tower, the Wyly Theatre stacks these facilitiesbelow-house and above-house.

Dusk - Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Dusk - Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Thisstrategy transforms the building into one big “theater machine.” At the push ofa button, the theater can be transformed into a wide array of configurations—includingproscenium, thrust, and flat floor—freeing directors and scenic designers tochoose the stage-audience configuration that fulfills their artistic desires. Moreover,the performance chamber is intentionally made of materials that are notprecious in order to encourage alterations; the stage and auditorium surfacescan be cut, drilled, painted, welded, sawed, nailed, glued and stitched atlimited cost.Stacking the Wyly Theatre’sancillary facilities above- and below-house also liberates the performancechamber’s entire perimeter, allowing fantasy and reality to mix when and wheredesired.

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Directors can incorporate the Dallasskyline and streetscape into performances at will, as the auditorium isenclosed by an acoustic glass façade with hidden black-out blinds that can beopened or closed. Panels of the façade can also be opened to allow patrons orperformers to enter into the auditorium or stage directly from outside,bypassing the downstairs lobby.By investing ininfrastructure that allows ready transformation and liberating the performancechamber’s perimeter, the Wyly Theatre grants its artistic directors freedom todetermine the entire theater experience, from audience arrival to performanceconfiguration to departure.

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

On consecutive days, the Wyly Theatre can produceShakespeare on a proscenium stage or Beckett in a flat-floor configurationsilhouetted against the Dallascityscape. Both learning from, and improving upon, DTC’s original Arts DistrictTheater, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre will restore Dallasas the home of the most flexible theater in America, if not the world..

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Photo by Iwan Baan - © OMA, REX

Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre Gallery

A+Winner Q+A: Norway’s Helen and Hard on Making Architecture Eco logical, Making Art Experiential, and More

With 90+ categories and 300+ jurors, the Architizer A+Awards is the world’s definitive archite ctural awards program. In anticipation of the Awards Gala and Phaidon book launch on May 14, we are pleased to share the stories behind the winners of the 2015 Awards program — see all of them here. Helen and Hard as won…

© Quinn Architects

Faring Road // Quinn Architects

Los Angeles, CA, United States

+