Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
A Seattle-based architecture firm known for its cultural arts work and San Antonio's Marmon Mok Architecture will lead the design team for the adaptation of the historic Municipal Auditorium into a modern performing arts center.
The Bexar County Performing Arts Foundation revealed the design team selection Monday.
“I think that team really understood the iconic nature of the auditorium and how to be sensitive to how the community reveres that building,” said J. Bruce Bugg Jr., who heads the nonprofit foundation overseeing the redesign. “We were seeking to find a team that would inspire the foundation, but more importantly the community.”
LMN Architects of Seattle and Marmon Mok will help write the next chapter of the auditorium's story, combining the history of the building's well-known shell with the need for new high-tech theater spaces inside.
In a conceptual rendering that doesn't represent the actual design — just a jumping-off point — the team would retain the building's footprint and raise the roof to allow enough volume for better acoustics, and to allow the space to squeeze in a proscenium theater for ballet, opera and symphony, along with a smaller studio theater and a rehearsal room.
“Its fundamental character will be preserved,” said George Shaw, partner at LMN Architects. “There will be a really interesting dynamic of the historic preservation with brand-new construction.”
The 1920s-era Municipal Auditorium sits on the far edge of the River Walk, but it will be in a central position when the new Museum Reach of the river opens May 30.
The adjacent, historic San Antonio Fire Headquarters building also will be renovated into office space and what Rodney Smith, general director of the performing arts center foundation, hopes will be restaurant space.
“That will be important to creating energy in the area,” Smith said.
Stephen Souter, managing partner at Marmon Mok, said the new design will forge a new connection with the river without forgetting that generations of residents have memories of concerts, graduations and Fiesta events in the auditorium.
“Everyone in San Antonio has a story about the auditorium and an attachment to the building. It's an important building culturally, and it also needs to be a state-of-the-art theater space,” Souter said. “We've needed this facility for a long time. It will be a rebirth of performing arts in the city.”
Design and engineering work will start in earnest in June and continue until March 2011, when the performing arts foundation plans to seek bids for a general contractor. The project should break ground in June 2011, and the facility be ready to open in September 2013.
The $122 million construction budget includes $21 million for pre-construction services. Of that $21 million, the design team costs will be $14.8 million, according to a construction budget submitted to the Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Other design team members include: Sussman/Prejza & Co. of Culver City, Calif., for interior design and environmental graphics; San Antonio-based Pape-Dawson Engineers and Dallas-based Walter P. Moore for civil engineering; San Antonio's Alpha Consulting Engineers for structural engineering; HLB Lighting Design of Culver City for interior and exterior lighting design; San Antonio's Fisher Heck Architects for local historic renovation expertise, and San Francisco's Timmons Design Engineers and San Antonio's Goetting & Associates for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering.
Last year, Bexar County voters approved $100 million in funding for the Bexar County Performing Arts Center.The Bexar County Performing Arts Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization which will operate the center, now owns Municipal Auditorium and is raising $32 million in private funding. The foundation hopes to pursue some level of certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a national green building program. Next, it will search for an acoustician and theater consultant to help with technical aspects, and a cost consultant. LMN recently completed a music school at the University of California, San Diego, and designed the home of Seattle's symphony and ballet. It won a 2001 National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for the Seattle Symphony's Benaroya Hall.
Marmon Mok is best known in San Antonio for its design of the Alamodome and the renovation of Terminal 1 at the San Antonio International Airport. It recently designed the master plan of the new Texas A&M campus on the South Side and won the 2008 Firm Award from the Texas Society of Architects.