Wyly Theatre opens in Dallas

En el Este de Dallas, diseñado por Joshua Prince-Ramus y Rem Koolhaas, se abre el Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, parte de la nueva AT&T Performing Arts Center de la ciudad. A partir de la reforma de un teatro convencional, se crea a nivel del terreno un espacio para exposiciones y actuaciones y un auditorio visible desde el exterior.

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, a reimagining of a conventional theatre building, with a ground-level performance space and auditorium visible from the outside, opens in Dallas this week. The Wyly Theatre, part of the city’s new AT&T Performing Arts Center, is designed by Joshua Prince-Ramus (partner in charge, now REX) and Rem Koolhaas (founder of OMA).

Unlike a typical theatre, the Wyly accommodates back-of-house and front-of-house areas above and beneath the auditorium rather than wrapped around it, liberating its perimeter – a glass façade with optional blackout blinds – for direct contact with the urban surroundings. Passersby have the chance to glimpse the action inside; the theatre itself, which seats up to 575, can offer views of the city of Dallas as a backdrop.Rem Koolhaas, who will be giving a lecture in the Wyly Theatre on 15 October at 4pm, commented: «By stacking all facilities necessary for the functioning of a theatre in a single vertical volume, we create a situation where the technologies of the stage define an infinite variety of theatre arrangements, from the completely open to the completely enclosed.»

With 12 storeys clad in distinctive tubular aluminium, the Wyly has a commanding presence on the south side of the AT&T Performing Arts Center complex. The building has a total area of 7,500m2 (80,300 square feet) and includes a cocktail bar, offices, costume shop, and a multipurpose rooftop space. The Wyly uses a state-of-the-art «superfly» tower, able to efficiently move both scenery and seating, facilitating unprecedented flexibility and experimentation in the configuration of a theatre space: proscenium, thrust, traverse, arena, studio, and flat floor arrangements can be set up in less than a day.

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Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas’s design for the Wyly Theatre started in 2004 at OMA’s Rotterdam headquarters, and was subsequently developed in OMA’s New York office. In 2006, Prince-Ramus left OMA to form REX, where he continued to oversee the construction of the Wyly. Since 2006, OMA’s New York office has been headed by OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu, who oversees a range of projects including Cornell University’s Milstein Hall, currently under construction.

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is a leading international partnership practicing contemporary architecture, urbanism and cultural analysis. OMA is led by six partners: Rem Koolhaas, Ole Scheeren, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Shohei Shigematsu and Managing Partner Victor van der Chijs.
OMA has designed several innovative and important theatre spaces around the world, including the much acclaimed Casa da Música in Porto (2005), the Second Stage Theatre in New York (1999), the Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague (1987), as well as performance and event spaces in the Prada Transformer pavilion in Seoul (2009), the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London (2006), and the Prada Epicentre, New York (2001). OMA recently won the design competition for the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, and construction will begin next year on the Cordoba Conference Center, which includes a large auditorium. OMA’s design for the Television Cultural Centre, under construction in Beijing, also features a groundbreaking theatre concept, with all seating arrayed on a single hovering balcony.

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