503 Studio: Dallas Bound Oct30

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503 Studio: Dallas Bound

On October 19th, The Barry S. Onouye Distinguished Chair Design Studio hit the road for the weekend to visit Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas.  As part of our studio curriculum, we visited several iconic museums and cultural projects such as the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, which Jay Taylor, the Distinguished Chair, was the structural engineer on the project.

We started our first day with the Wyly Theatre designed by REX/OMA where we were given a tour and presentation by the project architect from Kendall Heaton Associates, the architect of record.

The Wyly Theatre viewed from the Winspear Opera House.

The entrance hall of the theater where the finishes Jay explained, were intentionally kept modest…

The Vertical Theater - The facility”s advanced mechanized “superfly” system is equipped with an elaborate system of winches, pulleys, lifts, tracks, and catwalks allowing for different theater configuration. (pictured below… it”s where the magic happens!)

View of the spacious costume room with a view of the city and fantastic light fixtures!

Enjoying the view of Dallas  (and that column!) from the upper level outdoor terrace…Matt (the project architect) points out some highlights in the skyline.

Given the structural focus of our design studio, the image below should say it all! The visit to the Wyly alone was worth the trip!

We continued on with the Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster Partners, which sits across the street from the Wyly in the Dallas Arts District.  Kendall Heaton Associates were also the architect of record on this project so Matt was able to continue the tour for us.

The two impressive glazed walls in this picture open up like garage doors to the outdoor pavilion.

View of the interior of the opera house and chandelier above… each light can be lowered or raised making for an ever-changing light fixture.

Chris and Thayer discussing the finishes…

After viewing two spectacular projects, it was time to experience some serious down-home Texan BBQ! Rick, Jay and Matt showing us how it”s done!

After filling our bellies, we headed to the Nasher Sculpture Center. Designed by Renzo Piano, the building has a unique barrel-vaulted glass ceiling that is suspended above the galleries, atop narrow steel ribs and supported by thin, stainless steel rods.  The innovative cast aluminum sunscreen, specifically designed for this project, floats above the roof and allows controlled natural light to filter into the galleries.

Fellow student, Helen, surviving the heat of Dallas… entrance to the museum…

Interior view… the natural light in the building is breathtaking!

View towards the garden adjacent to the cafe…

Rick admiring the Serra piece …

The next day we piled into two vehicles and headed to Fort Worth, Texas for our continued museum adventure. Our online casino first stop was the Modern Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando. Built ten years ago, the museum was a true highlight for many of us on the trip. The impressive concrete cantilevered roofs supported by 40 feet  high Y-shaped columns beautifully dissolves into the surrounding reflective pond.

 When you enter the gallery space of the museum, you are greeted by a beautiful curved concrete wall. I was happy to find this lovely sight on the other side of it. The “Book with Wings” was designed by German artist, Anselm Kiefer.

In praise of shadows…

Group discussion about the structure of this double height space…

Ando”s sketches, which were lovely and inspiring, can be found near the museum shop.

 Just across the street lies Louis Kahn”s Kimbell Art Museum. Completed in 1972, the building is currently under construction with the new addition by Renzo Piano to the right.

View of the beautiful cycloid barrel vaults with narrow plexiglass skylights that brings natural light into the gallery.

Giselle and Chris admiring art and building

Just before saying goodbye to Dallas, we were fortunate enough to get a tour of the new Museum of Nature and Science by Morphosis, which was still under construction at the time and is set to open in 2013.

The facade is comprised of a kit-of-parts system of precast concrete panels to create the horizontal texture. Read more about the facade system here.

The procession to the entrance is beautifully landscaped and very thoughtful.

The project architect explains the importance of the lobby space functioning as well as a new event space, which is a strong driver for museums as a revenue stream.

View of the auditorium with beautiful texture and lighting… the curtain was designed by an artist specifically for this museum.

We completed our tour in front of the building… the vehicular view you would get from the streets.

Our studio in front of the Modern Art Museum

Overall, it was an enriching, informative and fun trip. I feel quite lucky to have had this experience with such a great group of people and to have visited these extraordinary projects. Now back to studio…

Thanks Rick, Jay and Tyler!

Written by Queena Yi
Images by Queena Yi and Chris Graesser (excluding the Wyly during construction and the rooftop view of the Nasher)

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