Williams Performing Arts Center

Abilene, Texas, US

Square Feet: 92,000

To accommodate a thrust stage theater, a recital hall, a black box theatre as well as student class and practice facilities, our design provides a unified structural system that incorporates the different functions into a unified whole.  Equally important is a major common lobby that also allows for pre-function dining for attendees to one or several of the evening events.

The building architecture takes its rhythm and brick façade from some of the other buildings on the campus yet is created as a modern design from the logic of construct-ability, details and proportions.  To further express the interior functions, the lobby dining area acts as a lantern out to the surrounding community and is set in a large Texas size front porch which meets the motor court and arriving guests.

Internally the lobby extends itself from the entry doors to both the recital hall and the theatres by use of large curvilinear walls that reach from the individual entries toward the main building entry.  This also accommodates a reorientation as one enters into the hall.

The interior expression for the recital hall comes from the craft of the instruments and is made of veneers.  The interior wood is also appropriate from the acoustic requirements.

The thrust stage theatre is more a matter of moving through planes or curtains towards the stage which, in turn, is integral to the nature of viewing a performance.

The internal circulation of the building is along a two-story spine that is bridged at the second level along the long axis, providing light to both levels as well as creating the catwalk nature of the upper circulation.

Students are provided another entry at both the south end, near the parking lot as well as into an exterior courtyard towards the main campus.  The courtyard in turn provides an opportunity for exterior gathering for either a formal performance or personal practice places.  In either case it is a space to encourage serendipitous occurrences and a natural daylight break into the center of the building.