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Revamped Arthouse to Open in Fall a u s t i n Austin’s Arthouse at the Jones Center is set to re-open Oct. 22 after a $6 million renovation and expansion. The 20,830-sf contemporary arts center makes its debut with an inaugural exhibit, More Art about Buildings and Food, by Jason Middlebrook. New York-based architecture firm Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis collaborated with Arthouse’s building committee and staff on the design, which is the fourth significant renovation to the 1850s-era building (previous renovations: 1988 by Dallas-based architect Gary Cunningham; 1955 by J.M. Odom Construction Company; 1926 by Bertram E. Giesecke and August Watkins Harris). A new second-floor gallery, facade, entry sequence, and roof deck are keynotes of the renovation. Solar-tube lighting, a crow’s nest view of the State Capitol, and 150 small green-glass apertures add unique touches to the updated 1926 1958 2004 2010 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t widens on ascent. To the front of the gallery is a 90-seat community/screening room with a wide panel of glass that wraps around the building’s southeast corner and allows pedestrians to view activity inside. To the rear of the gallery, a stairway leads to a reading-room loft and two artist studios. An exit takes visitors to a 5,500sf rooftop deck with a large movie screen at one end and a crow’s nest retreat at the other. The building’s first floor houses offices and two galleries, and the lobby desk is a continuation of the ipe stairwell. The entry lounge is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass. The new center successfully melds the present with the past while providing space for growth. Expanded content on the progress of the Arthouse renovation and a video interview with architect Paul Lewis is available on TSA’s blog at N o e l l e H e i n z e Images Courtesy Arthouse 16 facility. But the new features don’t define the project, the original building does, and the architects let it shine through. “Color-coding history” is how Paul Lewis, AIA, describes the red, green, and yellow trusses of the second-floor gallery’s exposed ceiling. Walking through the gallery, Lewis indicates that the red steel is from the original 1920s Queen Theater, the yellow steel from a 1950s Lerner Shops department store, and the green steel from the 2010 renovation, added to reinforce the structure. The architects have left one wall of the gallery exposed like the ceilings, revealing ornamental plasterwork from the 1920s theater. A moveable wall dissects the gallery, allowing Arthouse to customize the space. Entering the building from downtown’s busy Congress Avenue, a monumental stairway framed on the right by an ipe curtain – made up of vertical panels in picket-fence formation – leads directly to the second-floor gallery and 9 / 1 0 2 0 1 0

Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2010: Design Awards

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