UT Permian Basin Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Midland, TX

UT Permian Basin Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Midland, TX

The arts are so much a part of this community and for forty years people have dreamed of a facility like this for the symphony, the ballet, and the opera. We have been at other venues in the community which have been lovely, but this is so exceptional. We are so fortunate and blessed to have this facility in which to make music.

George Pysh, Midland Odessa Symphony Chorale

The University of Texas and the communities of Midland and Odessa challenged Bora to provide an iconic performing arts center in the West Texas desert. Hovering above the flat plain, the new Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center stands as a beacon for the arts visible from miles around. A symbol for the University as well as the two adjacent cities, the center represents the entire region’s commitment to the arts.

The building’s dramatic form is inspired by the underlying geologic structure of the Permian Basin, Texas’s petroleum-producing region. By shaping the building’s volumes along inclines and declines and cladding them in local limestone, we imagined a singular building that seems formed from the geologic strata. As a counterpoint, the upper volumes of the structure are clad in stainless steel to reflect and merge with the huge West Texas sky.

The state-of-the-art, multi-use venue accommodates a wide array of touring productions from national performing arts groups as well as local performances, graduations, lectures and screenings. The center also provides much-needed instructional space specifically designed for the university’s growing music education program.

The building design and systems are optimized for the harsh conditions of West Texas. Sustainable design features include thoughtfully placed windows, native plantings, displacement ventilation and daylight sensing lighting controls.

The visionary client group asked for a building unlike any other. In true collaboration with them we delivered an award-winning facility that is both a huge commercial success and a true icon for the arts and culture in the Permian Basin.




Citation Award, AIA Portland
Golden Trowel Award, United Masonry Contractors Association (UMCA)
Merit Award, United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT)


Rhotenberry Wellen Architects
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Walter P Moore & Assoc.
KDC Associates
Hunt Construction
Shah Smith & Associates
Jaffe Holdon Acoustics
HLB Lighting Design