The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Academic Performing Arts Complex
The new Academic Performing Arts Complex replaces two existing 40-year-old buildings with a new facility and includes the renovation of two adjacent structures. The 94,000-square-foot complex will greatly enhance the performance and rehearsal assets of the university’s Music Department as well as the capabilities of the larger Rio Grande Valley arts community.
The six primary spaces in the new building include a grand porch and lobby which accommodate a variety of pre-function events, the primary 1,000-seat performance hall which houses a range of music, dance and theatrical events and dedicated rehearsal spaces for Band, Orchestra, Choir and Mariachi/Jazz ensembles. The grand porch and lobby are oriented toward University Drive and downtown Edinburg at the southeast end of the campus, making this building a landmark gateway to the university from the city.
This project extends the campus’s dominant vocabulary of thick brick walls with circular and arched openings. But it also introduces larger areas of glass and greater visual connectivity between indoors and outdoors as is appropriate for a public building that needs to welcome visitors and have its activities visible from the outside at night when most performances occur. The load-bearing masonry walls of the performance hall and rehearsal spaces are complemented by lighter metal and glass walls which create greater transparency and add color to the new building. Patterns are lively and syncopated both in masonry openings and in the metal and glass walls in keeping with the spirit of a place for music, theater and dance.
Inside the theater, vertical white oak wood grilles interspersed with the right balance of reflective and absorptive materials provide exceptional acoustics. Meticulous attention to other details, such as the fabrics used in the adjustable curtains and seat cushions, also allow for variable acoustic tuning to suit specific performance types and contribute to the sound quality in the space. Rehearsal halls have also been designed to effectively control sound in order to improve the quality of recordings used during practice sessions.
The renovated buildings include new faculty offices, classrooms, extensive practice rooms, listening and music labs, and a dance studio. The front and side lobbies in the performing arts center are active galleries to feature the works of various regional artists, while another area will house a rotating display of student artwork and awards. The new academic spaces will house the 400 future students and music majors at what is now called the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley following The University of Texas Pan America merger with UT-Brownsville in the summer of 2015.
Publications + News
- Wood Veneer Design is in the Details
- Architecture and Music
- Page Featured: Performing Arts Complex
- Dual Awards for Performing Arts Complex
- Re:arrange - 2016 AIA Dallas Retrospect