Wyly Theater

Dee & Charles Wyly Theatre

The critically acclaimed Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas is heralded by critics as one of the most intelligently conceived performance centers in the world. Dedicated in October, 2009, the theater is situated in the arts district of Downtown Dallas adjacent to the Winspear Opera House, which Zahner provided interior and exterior work.

The theater serves as both a traditional and experimental performance center for music, performance arts, and cinema. Designed by REX Architecture and Rem Koolhaus OMA , the vertically stacked theater spaces are transformable into many different configurations. To achieve these transformations, the Wyly Theatre is rigged with the conveyors and derricks repurposed from commonly used components of a steel mill factory, enabling rapid assembly as the various art forms require.

Building the Wyly Theatre

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.

Wyly Theatre by REX Architecture & Rem Koolhaus OMA

Wyly Theatre by REX Architecture & Rem Koolhaus OMA.

Detail of the perforated aluminum lighting system for Wyly Theatre

Detail of the perforated aluminum lighting system for Wyly Theatre.

Wyly Theatre at dusk, showing the lit sign system

Wyly Theatre at dusk, showing the lit sign system.

Aerial view of the Wyly Theatre & Winspear Opera House

Aerial view of the Wyly Theatre & Winspear Opera House.
Photo courtesy Google Maps.

Detail of the Wyly Theatre extruded aluminum panel system

Detail of the Wyly Theatre extruded aluminum panel system.

Mockup for Wyly Theatre facadeZahner installers place the aluminum metal panel facade for Wyly Theatre

 

Zahner installers place the aluminum metal panel facade for Wyly Theatre.

Designing the Facade for Wyly Theatre

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.

This new Theatre is part of a revitalization of the Dallas Arts District, and is adjacent to another project whose canopy and interior metalwork was provided by Zahner, the Winspear Opera House, also designed by OMA & REX Architects.

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