Extruded aluminum rain screen_Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre_REX + OMA
Project: Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Location: Dallas, USA
Architect(s): REX + OMA
The Dallas Theater Center (DTC) is known for its innovative work, the result of its leadership’s constant experimentation and the provisional nature of its long-time home. DTC was housed in the Arts District Theater, a dilapidated metal shed that freed its resident companies from the limitations imposed by a fixed-stage configuration and the need to avoid harming expensive interior finishes. The directors who worked there constantly challenged the traditional conventions of theater and often reconfigured the form of the stage to fit their artistic visions. As a result, the Arts District Theater was renowned as the most flexible theater in America. The costs of constantly reconfiguring its stage, however, became a financial burden and eventually DTC permanently fixed its stage into a “thrust-cenium.”
The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre overcomes these challenges by overturning conventional theater design. Instead of circling front-of-house and back-of-house functions around the auditorium and fly tower, the Wyly Theatre stacks these facilities below-house and above-house. This strategy transforms the building into one big “theater machine.” At the push of a button, the theater can be transformed into a wide array of configurations—including proscenium, thrust, and flat floor—freeing directors and scenic designers to choose the stage-audience configuration that fulfills their artistic desires. Moreover, the performance chamber is intentionally made of materials that are not precious in order to encourage alterations; the stage and auditorium surfaces can be cut, drilled, painted, welded, sawed, nailed, glued and stitched at limited cost.
Below, installers integrate the signage systems for the Wyly Theatre as construction neared completion in 2009. The following photos show details of the round perforations in the aluminum column which create this signage. These perforations are backed by a lighting system, which light to reveal the building's namesake, a line of text which lights up to read "Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre" down the midsection of the building.
Zahner was brought on to develop a designed solution for the exterior surface surrounding the building. During the preliminary stages, several designs were discussed, including cladding the structure in a perforated panel system. Architects opted to build a facade like none before it, yielding a look that emulates the billowed fabric of a closed curtain.
The architects first contracted Zahner to provide Design Assist for the structure, which enabled the team to further develop and increase the efficiency and lower cost for producing the complex facade. The first phase of a Design Assist contract culminates with the production of the mockup. The mockup serves as a critical function in each design. Mockups reveal both what works, and what doesn't work, and also gives the other contractors an understanding of how to best assemble and install the final components.
Zahner provided the design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of the extruded anodized aluminum facade. The designed extrusions were produced with partner Dante Tisi and the facade consultants at Front in New York.
-Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre_REX + OMA