The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, Texas, has been recognized with a 2016 Global Award of Excellence as one of the top civic design projects in the world by the Urban Land Institute. Designed by LMN Architects in partnership with executive architects Marmon Mok Architecture, the $150 million expansion and renovation project embraces the multi-faceted cultural identity of the city with a distinctive tapestry of form, materiality, light, and landscape.
The project was one of eleven real estate development projects from around the globe to have been selected as winners in the ULI 2016 Global Awards for Excellence program, widely recognized as one of the industry's most prestigious awards programs. This year's winners-representing projects in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America-were honored recently at the ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas.
The jury noted that, "The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts brings a world-class, dynamic performance venue and gathering place to San Antonio, while creating a vibrant connection between the city's main cultural venue and the famed River Walk."
Completed in 2014, the facility offers a rich diversity of architectural experience, capable of continuous transformation in response to programmatic and environmental influences. While retaining the Municipal Auditorium's treasured historic façade, the Tobin Center weaves a new 183,000-square-foot facility into its framework of public space-including a 1,768-seat main performance hall and 231-seat flat floor studio theater. The complexity of the facility reconfiguration called for a grand, unifying design gesture to integrate new and old architectural components. The solution-a porous, shimmering metallic veil-creates a sculptural, environmentally responsive expression that celebrates the cultural life of contemporary San Antonio. The veil begins low at the River Walk, and rises through irregular sheer planes to form an unmistakable new architectural presence in the San Antonio skyline.
"We drew inspiration for the architectural form and detailing from the Spanish Colonial style of the original 1926 Municipal Auditorium, as well as San Antonio's rich vernacular of color, pattern, and public celebrations," said Mark Reddington, FAIA, lead designer and partner at LMN Architects.
Goals for the expansion and renovation were threefold: to create a large, flexible, multi-use performance space with acoustics comparable to the world's finest concert halls; to restore the iconic historic building for future generations; and to create a vibrant connection between the city's main cultural venue and the River Walk. The completed project combines the historic preservation of one of San Antonio's most beloved architectural icons with the most flexible multi-purpose performance hall in the United States.
Photography: Andy Crawford & Mark Menjivar