Ground-breaking acoustic shell for Texas arts venue
Completed in 2006, the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art auditorium that houses orchestral and theatrical performances, showcasing both functions with equal ease and excellence. Desirous of an iconic, state-of-the-art, multi-functional performance facility to anchor the downtown Amarillo skyline, the new 70,000-square-foot facility, which draws its inspiration from surrounding natural geologic formations, surpassed client expectations.
With its elegant 40-foot-high glass lobby, the building is a public, community venue used by the local orchestra, ballet, and opera. At its heart is a 1300-seat multipurpose auditorium distinguished by a one-of-a-kind design that creates optimal acoustical environments for various types of performances.
Composed of individually cut, geometrically shaped oriented strand board panels, the shell is designed to be visually arresting, as well as acoustically ideal. Each panel is positioned for optimum acoustics, blending and directing the sound towards the audience, while allowing the musicians to hear each other and themselves.
The groundbreaking orchestra shell design overcomes the disadvantages of typical shells. The one-piece shell does not require disassembly and moves on and off stage within four minutes, using a remote control. The mechanised solution was critical in a community lacking professional stage crew.
The shell’s sinuous curves continue uninterrupted into the auditorium, enveloping both performers and audience in a cocoon-like atmosphere, fulfilling the client’s top criterion that the room visually reinforces the bond between performers and community.
Reflecting local civic pride while furthering the process of revitalising downtown Amarillo, the building's dramatically swooping roofline, regionally sourced materials, and custom-made elements add to the highly personal design vocabulary capturing the local flavor.