Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Dallas, USA

margot and bill winspear opera house

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas, opened in 2009, represents a new type of concert venue. International architectural partnership Foster + Partners has created a direct relationship between interior and exterior, has “democratised” opera as an event by way of an opening façade. Hidden behind the high glass front, half of it below the delicate construction of the “sky canopy”, which provides shade and a controlled climate, the rotunda of the 2,200-seat auditorium lights up magically, as if it were the curtain in a theatre.

Structural steelwork with precise lines, concealed fixings and connections plus exhaustive planning down to the last detail – working with Lord Norman Foster is always a special challenge. The aluminium panels on the façade belong to seele’s “standard repertoire”, but the 18.5m high glazing to the lobby has a number of special technical features in store. Integrated into the post-and-rail structure are three enormous vertical sliding doors, each about 8m wide and 7.2m high. Driven by spindles at the sides, some 7t of glass and steel slide up behind the glass façade above and enable the building to merge with its surroundings. Automatic rising thresholds finish off the doors at ground level and pneumatically operated seals guarantee that the doors are shut tightly.

  • The joints between the panes of insulating glass with their concealed Sefix retainers define the neat horizontal segmentation that is responsible for the architectural impression of this structure.
    Small but nevertheless full of technical refinements: the all-glass vestibule. Its two portal frames for the doors plus a peripheral steel frame for the glass roof above create a prominent line, almost like a picture frame. Panes of extra-clear glass interconnected by structural silicone adhesive joints carry the loads discretely, without the observer being aware of this.

2,970sqm façade area
Client Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation
Architect Foster + Partners
Structural planning Thornton-Tomasetti Group Inc.
Date of completion 2009
Scope of seele supply

2,818sqm curtain wall

  • Total weight: 101t
  • 18.5m high glazing of the lobby
  • Post-interlocked construction with 3 lift gates, each 8m x 7.2m
  • All glass windscreen with insulated glass

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