Foster's New Opera
by Michael Cockram
The extroverted Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House by Norman Foster has sprung up in Dallas, Texas, across the street from the internally dynamic Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre by REX and OMA.
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The city's patchwork arts district, a narrow strip of blocks on the north side of downtown, already had a star-studded roster, with I.M. Pei's Meyerson Symphony Center, Edward Larrabee Barnes's deeply 1980s Dallas Museum of Art, Renzo Piano's elegant Nasher Sculpture Center, and the sedate addition by Allied Works to the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
But the district hadn't reached a point of cohesion. The two new additions help anchor the district, with the Winspear Opera House as an iconic marker in this city known for boot leather and drawl.
Opera in Context
Since the opera and theater buildings were being built simultaneously on adjacent sites, the two design teams collaborated on a site plan. The first decision was that they should stray from the original master plan by switching sites.
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