Wyly Theatre in Dallas by Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, a reimagining of a conventional theatre building, with a ground-level performance space and auditorium visible from the outside, opened in Dallas. The Wyly Theatre, part of the city's new AT&T Performing Arts Center, is designed by REX / OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus (partner in charge) and Rem Koolhaas.


Unlike a typical theatre, the Wyly accommodates back-of-house and front-of-house areas above and beneath the auditorium rather than wrapped around it, liberating its perimeter – a glass façade with optional blackout blinds – for direct contact with the urban surroundings. Passersby have the chance to glimpse the action inside; the theatre itself, which seats up to 575, can offer views of the city of Dallas as a backdrop.

Rem Koolhaas, who will be giving a lecture in the Wyly Theatre on 15 October at 4pm, commented: "By stacking all facilities necessary for the functioning of a theatre in a single vertical volume, we create a situation where the technologies of the stage define an infinite variety of theatre arrangements, from the completely open to the completely enclosed."

With 12 storeys clad in distinctive tubular aluminium, the Wyly has a commanding presence on the south side of the AT&T Performing Arts Center complex. The building has a total area of 7,500m2 (80,300 square feet) and includes a cocktail bar, offices, costume shop, and a multipurpose rooftop space. The Wyly uses a state-of-the-art 'superfly' tower, able to efficiently move both scenery and seating, facilitating unprecedented flexibility and experimentation in the configuration of a theatre space: proscenium, thrust, traverse, arena, studio, and flat floor arrangements can be set up in less than a day.

Photos by Iwan Baan