Winspear Opera House, Dallas, Texas, USA

A new take on a classic form

A typical opera house, if there is such a thing, is full of contradictions and demands. It must seat a large number of people but still maintain intimacy; it must balance grandeur and accessibility, but it must also be both acoustically and aesthetically sound. As such, creating an opera house is an attractive project for architects and designers. Although few people attend the opera, many are familiar with the buildings that house the art itself.

That view is about to change, however. The Winspear Opera House, home to the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet Theater, is hoping to transform the rarified status of opera. Designed by Foster + Partners, the Winspear is one of four showcase venues by master architects at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. The opera house balances drama with sustainability and friendliness. While it maintains the traditional horseshoe shape, the brilliant color and transparency are new takes on a classic form.

The vibrant red glow of the central ‘drum’ distinguishes the Winspear as a focal point in the Dallas Arts District. The top of the drum is illuminated with WE-EF FLB461 floodlights equipped with 150 W CMH ED17 lamps. The use of bi-symmetric wide beam optics, together with a linear spread lens, achieve an even wall washing effect. The luminaires are mounted at the top of the massive solar canopy that shades the outdoor seating area and plazas.

Architects: Foster + Partners Lighting Designer: Claude R. Engle Lighting Consultant

WE-EF luminaires also ensure an enjoyable night-time environment for the surrounding pedestrian plazas. ETC120 gimbal inground luminaires, fitted with 20 W metal halide lamps, accent the tree canopies. Flush to the grade installation allows for seamless integration of the ETC120s with decorative pavers and grassy areas. The gimbal mechanism, with horizontal and vertical aiming capability, provides flexibility and precise aiming from a fixed position.

Winspear Opera House, Dallas, Texas, USA

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