Launch Slideshow

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, Dallas

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, Dallas

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    Iwan Baan

    The exterior of the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater is sheathed in slender aluminum tubes.
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    Iwan Baan

    The bright main lobby draws visitors down the ramp to the main entrance.
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    Iwan Baan

    The main lobby houses a grid of custom vertical fluorescent tube fixtures recalling the aluminum extrusions of the façade.
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    Iwan Baan

    The lighting design mimics the stage lighting in quality and function, with fluorescent lighting used as the primary “work” light and halogen sources as the “performance” light.
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    Iwan Baan

    To signal the start of a performance, the fluorescent pendants are dimmed in sequence to guide patrons up the stairs to the Performance Hall.
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    Iwan Baan

    During performances, custom LED fixtures integrated into the railing provide reading light and softly illuminate the audience who become am integral part of the performance experience.
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    Iwan Baan

    Custom catenary cable-mounted fixtures, designed to recall bare A-lamps, add a playful element to the otherwise stark, tall volume of the conference room.
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    Iwan Baan

    Custom pendants in the costume shop create a filed of floating lamps. Dimmable halogen PAR lamps provide color and accuracy required for costume fittings while the fluorescent circline lamps provide higher light levels required for costume production. Designed as one unit, the beam of the PAR lamp passes through the center of each circline.
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    Timothy Hursley

    The outdoor terrace of the practice room is softly illuminated with a grid of PAR lamps providing view to the Dallas skyline.
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    Timothy Hursley

    The façade tubes taper to a fin at openings to allow views in and out of the building.
 

Located in the Dallas Arts District, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre is one of two performance venues at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. In its design, the architects—REX/OMA—rethink the traditional programmatic arrangements of a performing arts space, vertically stacking the back-of-house on top of the performance hall to create a footprint that resembles an extruded cube. This enabled them to exploit the structure of the building—steel and concrete X braces—and establish an industrial aesthetic that would set the stage for a playful integration of light.

Theatergoers enter the building below grade via a sloped hardscape terrace accented with planting areas and embedded linear fixtures. These horizontal lines of light turn vertically upon arrival into the lobby, in the form of a grid of linear fluorescent tubes that extend from the ceiling. A unique play on the idea of a chandelier, the tubes also reinforce the verticality of the building and of the façade, which is sheathed in thin aluminum tubes.

In the theater, which seats 600 people, the arrangement of the stage and seating is such that the audience becomes part of the experience. Fluorescent lamps complement the theatrical lighting, halogen sources are used for performance lighting, and custom LED handrail fixtures serve as reading lighting.

Elsewhere in the building, as in the costume shop, the practical yet playful attitude toward light continues. Circline fluorescents provide required light levels but are arranged whimsically, expanding the experience of performance to all areas of the building. 

Jury Comments: The lighting design transforms everyday sources into something sculptural and unexpected. • The lighting in the costume shop, with its ceiling of circular fluorescent lamps, is particularly wonderful.