The new Winspear Opera House in Dallas redefines the essence of an opera house for the twenty first century, breaking down barriers to make opera more accessible for a wider audience. Responding to the Dallas climate, a generous solar canopy extends from the building, revealing below a fully glazed sixty foot high lobby. This establishes a direct relationship between inside and outside, enhancing transparency. Beneath the canopy, which forms an integral part of the environmental strategy - a shaded pedestrian plaza creates a major new public space for Dallas, defined by the masterplan for the Performing Arts District. The masterplan was designed by Foster + Partners and OMA with Michel Desvigne. The opera house, with its canopy on the orthogonal grid generated by Flora Street, is the focal point of the District, which also includes the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater, the Booker T Washington High School, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and in the future, the new City Performance Hall. Around the Opera House itself, angled off-grid under the canopy, there is the Annette Strauss Artists’ Square, with its outdoor performance space for an audience of 5000, a smaller outdoor performance space with a café terrace and the main entrance with access to the parking garage. Together with Sammons Park, the public plaza, these spaces form an integral part of the project, connecting with the city at an urban scale.
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