Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Courtesy Timothy Hursley (left) and The Dallas Morning News/Tom Fox (right).

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House



Thornton Tomasetti served as engineer of record, from design development through completion, and as curtain wall consultant throughout the project. The award-winning building is one of three new venues in the Dallas Arts District’s master plan. The 210,000-square-foot, 2,200-seat Winspear Opera House is inspired by traditional Italian horseshoe vocal theaters and revolutionizes the style to create an innovative standard for the 21st century.

The most striking feature is the glass-sheathed “drum,” which wraps around the balconies and rises through a four-acre sunshade canopy, and is washed with light at night.

Making the building as open and welcoming as possible was a top priority. Therefore, the lobby is wrapped in glass walls 60 feet high, framed in gray-painted solid steel. The southeast panel, near the ground-level café, has a 2,100-square-foot section that can be raised for a walk-through outdoor-indoor opening.

Four levels of balconies are located above the orchestra floor fronted in glass-fiber-reinforced gypsum and punctuated with lighting sconces.

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