Dual Awards for Performing Arts Complex

Page was part of a project team that accepted not one but two awards in the same month for the same facility. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Academic Performing Arts Complex received a Gold CISCA (Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association) Excellence Award for Acoustical Solutions. It also received an Award of Merit in the Illuminating Engineering Society International Illumination Design Awards competition.

Within the Performing Arts Complex theater, vertical white oak wood grilles interspersed with the right balance of reflective and absorptive materials provide exceptional acoustics. Meticulous attention to other details, such as the fabrics used in the adjustable curtains and seat cushions, also allow for variable acoustic tuning to suit specific performance types and contribute to the sound quality in the space. Rehearsal halls also were designed to effectively control sound in order to improve the quality of recordings used during practice sessions.

On the front terrace, a warm glow lights the wood ceiling  from embedded low wattage ceramic metal halide uplights. The stone on the upper portion of the exterior is grazed with metal halide floodlights. Ambient lighting in the lobby and façade is provided by low wattage ceramic metal halide downlights. The center stair landing features artwork that is illuminated with a fluorescent cove. 

Theatrical fixtures can be located on recessed pull-down strong-points for lighting presenters on the landing. A theatrical pipe is located against the far wall of the landing to provide a backlighting position. Inside the theater, single lamp strip lights are hung under and between the panels of the tension wire grid, which is purposefully designed without right angles. Retrofit LED fluorescent tubes are used to extend the length of time between lamp changes and to eliminate any noise that could emanate from fluorescent ballasts. Vertical coves in the side walls also are illuminated with LED tape.

The new Academic Performing Arts Complex replaces two existing 40-year-old buildings and includes the renovation of two adjacent structures. The 94,000-square-foot complex is greatly enhancing the performance and rehearsal assets of the university’s nationally recognized Music Department as well as the capabilities of the larger Rio Grande Valley arts community.

Congratulations to project team members 9Wood, which installed the wood ceilings and exterior soffits; lighting designers Schuler Shook; contractor Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. and independent manufacturer’s representative Specified Interiors, Inc.!