Bass Hall is the centerpiece of the University of Texas, Austin’s nine-theater performing arts complex. The building’s original Brutalist design, built in 1981, featured a heavy brick exterior and a dark interior. Sited prominently adjacent to Royal Memorial Stadium, the building was an active part of campus life, despite its aesthetic deficiencies.
In 2003, the campus hired us with CCS&H Architects of Austin to initially design fire/life safety renovations and limited interior improvements. This commission was expanded to include an addition to give the building an architectural identity that communicates its function as a significant cultural venue. Our design called for the front of the building to expanded, creating a fully transparent 5-floor lobby with an outdoor space for receptions and events on the 6th floor.
Upgrades to the audience chamber include new finishes, increased lighting, an opened ceiling with adjustable acoustic treatment and new side wall surfaces. The stage was updated with new cheek walls and a forestage canopy to improve sound projection. A new forestage grid permits flexible lighting. These systems now support a variety of commercial touring productions of music, theater and dance, and the building stands as an open, inviting host to the performing arts.
University of Texas, Austin
Frank Lam & Associates
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander