OMA New York / Jason Long has revealed the design for The Terminal, a new performance venue serving as a cultural anchor for POST Houston, the office's redevelopment of the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office in downtown Houston. Integrated within the eastern wing of the mixed-use design, the 5,000 capacity music venue makes use of industrial materials and lighting effects to create a performative space on and off the stage.
OMA's design features a flexible main performance space, with raked seating hovering above the flat general assembly area, which allows for various configurations of the venue. The tribunes enable users to experience the event from a more sheltered space, providing expansive views of the performance space. As Project Architect Salome Nikuradze says: "Live music shows can be so personal, ranging from collective experiences to very introspective ones. Enhancing this diversity became a core of our design approach."
A performance venue is a vessel for gathering and a machine for generating spectacle, but beyond the stage and the central crowd, the energy of the show can often be shrouded in darkness. We wanted The Terminal to be a place where you could be simultaneously connected to the stage and creatively disengaged, so we tried to bring the performance and its aura to every corner of the venue - Jason Long, partner in charge of the project.
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Leading to the main performance area are a series of spaces defined by industrial materials. The lobby bar enveloped in aluminized fabric heat shields is a nod to Houston's connection to NASA and space history. Stainless steel grids line the walls providing a display area for merchandise and posters. Further, a polycarbonate wall separates two spaces for different kinds of interactions, one catering to intimate gatherings and the other accommodating performances. Finally, a bright yellow stair within the translucent partition links the different audience levels and leads to an additional lounge space.
For the POST Houston project, OMA partnered with local firm Powers Brown Architecture, a collaboration that will be extended to execute The Terminal and the project's visualisations are the work of Luxigon. The new music venue will open its doors in November 2021.