Diller Scofidio + Renfro Restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright Theater by Kalita Humphreys
Diller Scofidio + RenfroIn cooperation with dallas Theatre Centre, proposal for restoration of Kalita Humphreys Theatreone of the lesser-known works of Frank Lloyd Wright. Over the years, neglect and irresponsible supplementary actions have compromised the integrity of the building. The project aims to restore mid-20th century theater to its original state using a complex approach. According to the architects, this includes the extraction of non-original elements, selective reconstruction and preservation, and an honest reinterpretation of Wright’s design intent. The project also aims to transform the surrounding public space into an active and inviting park connected to Turtle Creek and the Katy Trail, some of the most visited destinations in Dallas.
The intervention reimagines public green space as an open and democratic urban park, connected to the city through a network of bridges, pedestrian walkways and bike paths. It also prioritizes the position stage Kalita Humphreys as the centerpiece of this refreshing scene. In keeping with Wright’s organic architecture, which called for the building’s unification with its natural surroundings, the stage It was initially located in a limestone cliff overlooking Turtle Creek. However, this scenario is fragmented due to large parking lots and roads. While the cliffs, which were removed as part of the 1968 addition, are not recoverable, the slightly reworked landscaping will re-echo the original topography of the site.
Calita Humphreys was built to a design Frank Lloyd Wright In 1959, it underwent a series of alterations, including a lobby extension in 1968 that damaged the original block of the volume. Some architectural details were also lost in these alternations. However, the intervention aimed to carefully research and restore original elements, including mid-century light fixtures, ventilation grilles, doorknobs, window frames, and furniture.
In addition to restoration, the project also needs to respond to the needs of the contemporary public and artists. Improved lighting, climate control, stage infrastructure and other support functions will improve flexibility and allow for a wider range of performances. The seating layout will resemble a 1959 ballroom, with staggered rows improving sightlines. The auditorium will host a central information point and historical pavilion to orient and engage visitors. The interventions aim to transform the neglected building into an active theater hosting a wide range of productions, while honoring the beauty and integrity of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design.
New programs are also being incorporated into the landscape. Separate pavilions along the general axis will be interspersed with small courtyards, each marked by a specific program that will broaden the social and cultural scope of the collection. The scale and location of the new buildings is determined by Kalita Humphreys, ensuring that the historic theater remains the focal point of the composition. The 100-seat black box theater will open onto one of the plazas as an indoor/outdoor venue; A multi-purpose pavilion will provide flexible infrastructure for various events, educational classes and workshops; The rehearsal and teaching “tower” will house small immersive productions, while a picture restaurant completes Kalita Humphrey’s new campus.
Founded in 1981, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is known for projects like Holy Cross College Pre Center for the Performing Arts In Worcester, USA, and Extensiona 5km network of public spaces and gardens integrated into the daily rhythms of Greenwich Peninsula in London, UK.
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