AT&T PAC's "Giant Transformer," the Wyly, Honored By American Institute of Architects

Categories: Arts, Development
Flickr user: Jennifer Conley
Two different announcements have landed in the in-box in the last 24 minutes alerting our attention to the fact the American Institute of Architects has given the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre one of its prestigious Honor Awards for Architecture, along with these other estimable edifices. One release says the "Dallas Theater Center is thrilled to have its home theater recognized in such a prestigious way"; no doubt. Another reminds: "The Wyly Theatre is one of 27 recipients selected from over 700 total submissions"; mazel tov.

And what say the judges about the "bad-ass giant Transformer"? This:
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 former, long-time home. The DTC's previous accommodation -- a makeshift metal shed -- freed its users from the limitations imposed by a fixed-stage configuration and the need to protect expensive interior finishes.

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre overcame these challenges by positioning back-of-house and front-of-house facilities above and beneath the auditorium, instead of encircling it. This unprecedented stacked design transforms the building into a "theater machine" that extends the technologies of the fly tower and stage into the auditorium to provide an almost infinite variety of stage-audience configurations; liberates the performance hall's perimeter to allow fantasy and reality to mix when and where desired; and manifests a strong presence in the Dallas Arts District despite its relatively modest size.

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Lee Candler Young - AIA
Lee Candler Young - AIA

You can say what you wish about this crude monstrosity, but in the final analysis it is truly one butt-ugly "avant-garde" cooling tower masquerading as a theater building. The horrible, user-unfriendly site planning alone should have disqualified it from any serious recognition. The lobby has only a little less charm than a self-storage warehouse.



They missed the fact that DTC has been located in the Frank Lloyd Wright designed theater for many years. It does have a fixed stage. The "metal shed" had very flexible stage and seating configurations. It is still an honor for the Wyly and DTC, but just not all accurate.

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