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LBJ High School Theater Located on one of Austin’s arts magnet school campuses, the LBJ High School Theater establishes a revitalized arts presence within a setting of utilitarian academic buildings. The theater building, designed by Austin-based LZT Architects, is composed of inner and outer shells, with the baffled walls of the interior expressed as colorful planes on the building’s exterior. The 16,000-sf multiform theater extends outside through an outdoor performance space facing the existing exterior courtyard and lobby. The entry lobby of the performing arts center resembles a stage set as it stands under the overhanging roof of the structure’s outer shell and serves as a backdrop to the courtyard performance area. In addition to the 500-seat indoor performance space, the theater also houses classrooms and workshops for the school’s theater arts program. The project is scheduled for completion next January.

Institute for Jazz Studies Jeffrey Olgin, an architecture student at Texas Tech University, recently received the 2005 form•Z University Joint Study Award of Distinction in Architecture for his conceptual design for the Institute for Jazz Studies. Designed for a site at historic Fort Adams Park in Rhode Island where the Newport Jazz Festival takes place each year, the project consists of two distinct buildings that house the campus and museum, along with a bridging element that connects them to performance spaces. Linkages between the institute’s primary structures create boundaries, allowing for simultaneous separation and connection of the internal and external spaces, the existing fort, and the festival site. The project’s design – with its composition of parallel bars – references the syncopated rhythms of jazz saxophonist Lester Young. Olgin conceived his design while a student of Associate Professor Bennett Neiman’s fourth-year undergraduate studio.

Edinburg City Hall The City of Edinburg is beginning construction on a new city hall, designed by TAG International, that will consolidate city departments and provide a new focal point for the government seat. Embodying a contemporary interpretation of Spanish Colonial and Baroque architectural traditions, the 42,000-sf structure will include a three-story tower which will provide a visible city landmark. The project site is located on a major axis through the city, that will connect the new city hall to the University of Texas-Pan American to the west and the Museum of South Texas History and the Hidalgo County Courthouse to the east. The project proposes to close a section of West McIntyre Street, replacing it with an elliptical plaza on the west side of the site. The plaza will anchor the existing Edinburg Auditorium, a state historical landmark, with the new facility and provide a multi-functional venue for public receptions, city council meetings, and cultural activities.


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Texas Architect May/June 2006: Nature