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Project

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House

Inspired by traditional Italian horseshoe vocal theaters, the Winspear Opera House revolutionizes the classic design to create an innovative standard for the 21st century.

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Project Details

Project Partners
Foster + Partners and Kendall/Heaton Associates
Owner
AT&T Performing Arts Center
Location
Dallas, Texas
Completion Date
Area
210,000 ft²
Number of Seats
2,200
Project Awards

RIBA International Award, 2010

USITT Architecture Awards, Merit Award, 2010

AON, Build America Award, 2010

Associated General Contractors of America, Best Construction Project, 2009

Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Timothy Hursley photo
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Andreas Praefcke photo
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Andreas Praefcke photo
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Thornton Tomasetti
Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Thornton Tomasetti

A Centerpiece for the Dallas Arts District

Inspired by traditional Italian horseshoe vocal theaters, the Winspear Opera House revolutionizes the classic design to create an innovative standard for the 21st century. The award-winning building is one of three new venues in the Dallas Arts District’s master plan. The most striking feature of the 2,200-seat opera house is the glass-sheathed “drum” that wraps around the balconies and rises through a four-acre sunshade canopy, and is washed with light at night.

Collaborating with Foster + Partners and Kendall/Heaton Associates, we served as engineer of record, from design development through completion, and as curtain wall consultant throughout the project. The first performance at the grand opening, in 2009, was Verdi’s Othello.

Highlights

  • To support the goal of making the building as open and welcoming as possible, 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.

Quite justifiably, it has come to be recognized as America’s finest opera house.