This Just In
Hunt Completes Amarillo's Globe-News Center for the Performing
With a grand opening scheduled for next
month, the new performing arts facility, named for Amarillo's
daily newspaper, brings a world-class 70,000-sq.-ft., 1,300-seat
venue to the Panhandle.
The new $30 million Globe-News Center for the Performing
Arts in Amarillo is a unique and complex building on which
common materials were used in uncommon ways. With such basic-yet-innovative
touches as an interior acoustical wooden shell of oriented
strand board enclosing its 1,300-seat theater and steel cattle
truck panels on its lobby ceiling, the 70,000 sq. ft. structure
brings an architectural showpiece to the Panhandle city.
The Dallas office of Hunt Construction Group Inc. broke ground
under a guaranteed-maximum-price contract in August 2003,
excavating down to 25 ft. on an empty lot in downtown Amarillo
to form the theater's orchestra pit and the trap pit beneath
the stage. Bell piers ranging from 24 to 60 ins. in diameter
were drilled 30 to 44 ft. to support the structure, a three-story
reinforced concrete shell. On top of it is a structural steel
frame with a CMU infill that slopes up to 110 ft. over the
theater and fly loft. It will be ready for the facility's
"soft opening" this month. A grand opening is scheduled
|The curvilinear roof
structure mimics the color, texture and shape of the walls
of nearby Palo Duro Canyon. The seating bowl begins to
take shape. Bell piers ranging from 24 to 60 ins. in diameter
were drilled 30 to 44 ft. to support the three-story reinforced
concrete shell. Images courtesy Hunt Construction Group.
The main theater section is wrapped in red sandstone, taking
a cue from the walls of nearby Palo Duro Canyon. The three-level
wing running the length of the center's north side is clad
in yellow brick that also reflects the local natural palette,
and contains administrative offices, dressing rooms and staging
areas. And there's a two-story, acoustically isolated rehearsal
room that serves as a children's education center and mechanical
and electrical equipment on its third floor.
"We used the materials and the structure to denote where
these different functions occur," said project architect
Michael Connolly of Holzman Moss Architecture of New York.
"Through materials and shaping we were able to delineate
the sections of the building."
The center's most unique feature is the interior wooden acoustical
shell enclosing the theater. It consists of oriented strand
board panels attached to a frame of yellow pine glu-lam timbers
suspended from within the lower concrete and upper steel frame.
"OSB is common and cheap material, but we're using it
in an uncommon way," Connolly said. "We sanded and
stained it and sealed it, and you would never know that it
was such a common material when you see it in place."
The 10,000 pieces of the oval shell were cut and prepared
at a nearby 11,000-sq.-ft. warehouse. "We brought all
the material in to the warehouse space to stage from and to
do a lot of the painting and staining and preliminary cuts
before bringing it to the job on a daily basis," said
Kevin Cain, project manager for Hunt.
The center had sought a subcontractor to custom build the
shell. "We couldn't find anyone to bid on it other than
one company whose bid was outrageously high," said Globe-News
Center executive director Laura Street. "Then Hunt and
the architect said that they could figure it out."
|The exterior walls are
clad with 96 tons of handset Colorado sandstone, which
continues through the lobby. The facility features exposed
architectural concrete finishes. The seating area is enclosed
in a custom-fabricated wood shell made of more than 10,000
pieces of wood material that was hand cut and fit into
place in the field. Photos courtesy Hunt Construction
The cost of the shell was $1.7 million. It features a separate
movable orchestra shell suspended 2 in. above the stage on
an overhead crane mounted on steel tracks, which slides into
place for orchestral concerts and then moves out of the way
for theatrical and pop music concert events.
"At most facilities the orchestra shell has to be manually
erected and then disassembled between performances,"
Cain said. "With the touch of a button you can move this
orchestra shell back into its storage space in what we call
the garage or move it back out again onto the stage where
it aligns with the wood shell to make it all one room."
The 2,205-sq.-ft. rehearsal hall and education center located
in the side wing also had to be specially constructed to achieve
acoustic isolation. "It was poured as a separate building
inside >> the structure," Connolly said. "The
slab is completely independent of the rest of the building
and the structure itself is mounted on that slab with isolation
Its CMU walls are clad in a mix of stained cement board and
fabric-wrapped panels to achieve the needed interior acoustical
properties. A sheetrock ceiling is hung on acoustical isolators
from the top of the structure.
Isolating the room from the rest of the building allows for
simultaneous performances. "If the symphony is performing
in the theater on the stage, the opera can rehearse at the
same time," Street said. "They don't hear each other
and the audience doesn't know that anything else is going
on," he added.
The sloped roof atop the steel frame upper level of the theater
was designed to reflect the topography of the Palo Duro Canyon
walls. It is formed from a series of longspan joist girders
with steel purlins set in between. An 8-in. concrete roof
poured atop the metal deck provides acoustical isolation.
The top layer of the sloped roof consists of rubber-coated
aluminum panels with snow guards and rainwater diverters.
A rolled-steel curved roof tops the lobby and portico. The
ceiling is lined with metal panels usually found on the sides
of cattle trucks. The feature is economical and refers to
the local area's ranching commerce.
Connolly said: "If we had a metal panel ceiling we'd
want to put holes in it and put a texture on it, and it would
always cost money. And here are these panels and they're already
punched. They're standard. So why not use them? And they fit
with the surroundings as well. So it's another common material
used in an uncommon way."
The lobby walls are colored concrete. The front window wall
consists of blue and green panels with yellow pane accents.
"The glass curtain wall depicts the rising sun over Palo
Duro Canyon," Street said.
The lobby floor also mirrors the local setting. "It
represents what the landscape looks like from the sky,"
Connolly said. "It's these long geometric fields and
roadways on a grid pattern interrupted by circles where the
irrigation arms make circular shapes."
A combination of three different shades of terrazzo tile
and three different colors of carpet was used to achieve the
effect. The same pattern was also used with different colors
on the fabric upholstery on the theater seats.
"It's changing the skyline and color of downtown Amarillo,"
||Hunt Construction Group Inc., Dallas
||Gilliland Group, Amarillo
||Holzman Moss Architecture LLP, New York
Engineers Collaborative, Austin