Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. Courtesy Jeff Goldberg / Esto (left) & Zane Williams (right).

Overture Center for the Arts



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering for Overture Center for the Arts, which incorporates artists’ recommendations and visions in an effort to improve Madison’s performing arts facilities.

Phase I of the $205 million cultural arts complex includes a new 2,250-seat performance hall with three additional flexible spaces suitable for community access performance, rehearsals and events. Also included in Phase I is the construction of the Yost Rotunda, which is suitable for community gatherings, impromptu performances and festival spaces. Phase II consists of the design and construction of a new and expanded Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the renovation of two existing theaters, the 800-seat Capitol Theater into the Oscar Mayer Theater and the Isthmus Playhouse, a 350-seat thrust stage.

The new performance hall is designed for non-amplified use. Thus the need for high-end acoustics has driven the architectural design of the project, affecting the shape of the ceilings and
the undersides of the balconies. To keep it acoustically isolated from the surrounding environment, the entire hall is enclosed within an 18-inch-thick concrete wall that stands 110 feet high
at its peak. There are three levels of cantilevered balconies and sideboxes. The new hall also features a 300,000-pound custommade moveable organ that was assembled on-site.

The Overture Hall lobby highlights a dramatic wall that soars 150’ high at its peak. It is composed of 9-foot-by-17-foot panes of exceptionally transparent glass; each pane weighs as much as a
Honda Civic sedan.

Chosen as one of the leading projects in the state for sustainable design by the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance, every effort was made to select and procure materials in an environmentally conscious way.

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