Tobin Center for the Performing Arts – 2016 Global Awards for Excellence Winner

Tobin Center

Location: San Antonio, Texas
Developer: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Designer: LMN Architects
Site Size: 3.2 acres

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts combines one of San Antonio’s most beloved architectural icons with advanced technology and contemporary architecture to create a flexible multi-purpose performance hall. While retaining the Municipal Auditorium’s treasured historic façade, the Tobin Center weaves a new 183,000 sq. ft. facility into the framework of the historic architecture, including a 1,768 main performance hall and a 230 seat studio theater. The project centers on the 3-venue performing arts center, incorporating 183,000 sq. ft. of civic space and 1.8 acres of open space. The estimated total cost of the project is $135 million.

The Tobin Center has created a vibrant connection between the city’s main cultural venue and the River Walk with a public plaza and event space. The 600 seat outdoor plaza enhances the ability of the Tobin Center to host diverse events with A/V infrastructure for outdoor film and performances. The plaza also creates a new landscaped access point to the River Walk from the streets of downtown.

One of the main aspirations for the renovation and expansion project was to create a large, flexible-floor, multi-use performance space. Since opening in September 2014, Tobin has accommodated more than 700 uses, ranging from resident companies, touring shows, rehearsals, private and corporate events, and arts education. The main H-E-B Performance Hall, which runs performance for the visiting artists and the center’s 10 resident companies, features the nation’s first Gala movable floor system with the ability to transform into various configurations, and is seen as a key driver for the venue’s success. The hall can accommodate flat floor concerts, tiered seating, banquet and conference seating, and many more uses. Large-scale customized systems in the performance hall create virtually endless possibilities in room configuration and visual expression, in effect giving the city many venues in one and providing local arts groups with unlimited possibilities to attract new audiences with innovative programming. The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts was recently ranked by Pollstar as the 3rd highest venue for ticket sales worldwide for theaters under 2000 seats.

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