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Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House Opens   

October 23, 2009
Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House Opens

Courtesy The Dallas Morning News/Tom Fox

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House Opens
Dallas, Texas

The new Winspear Opera House opened last week, passing its first acoustic test with top grades with the Entry of the Guests from Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser filling the hall. We served as engineer of record and as curtain wall consultant for the project, one of three new venues in the Dallas Arts District. Designed by Foster + Partners, the 210,000-SF, 2,200-seat opera house is conceived as a classic horseshoe design, surrounded by 60-ft glass walls framed in steel, with a 2,100-SF section in the southeast panel that can be raised for a walk-through outdoor-indoor opening. An enormous canopy supported on a grid of slender steel columns extends from the building in all directions, providing shelter for a public plaza. The canopy consists of thousands of thin louvers set at an angle to allow views of the sky while blocking direct sunlight from the lobby. Four levels of balconies above the orchestra floor are fronted in glass-fiber-reinforced gypsum covered with 12-karat gold leaf and punctuated with lighting sconces. A 70-ft chandelier retracts into the ceiling when a performance starts. Kendall/Heaton Associates Inc. is the architect of record.