LEED Platinum Dallas: Dallas City Performance Hall
In the Arts District between One Arts Plaza and Dallas Theater Center sits a 750-seat performance center on what was once a contaminated site. Now, the Dallas City Performance Hall is the gateway to the Arts District and a model of sustainability.
Smart and simple architecture is a great place to start in terms of sustainability, Trahan Architects partner Leigh Breslau tells us. Leigh was a design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the duration of the project, which opened in September 2012. The team—SOM, the City of Dallas, Corgan Architects, theater consultants SchulerShook and acoustic consultant Jaffe Holden—only targeted Silver or Gold standing, but Corgan senior associate Kirk Johnson tells us focusing on water efficiency, energy usage, materials and resources, environmental quality and landscaping brought it up to LEED Platinum.
By having the façade entry facing north, the hall uses as much daylight as possible without heat gain caused in east- and west-facing buildings. Architects paid special attention to how people circulate within the space so users would stay engaged with daylight, the cityscape and the outside community, Kirk says. 90% of common areas have a direct connection to daylight.
The structure is made of simple (and often recycled) materials: glass to allow for daylight, an aluminum roof and concrete.
Much like the Sabine Hall Science Building, the Dallas Performing Arts Hall used fly ash—a non-recyclable material that would otherwise end up in a landfill—as an additive and recyclable forms to set the concrete.
SOM and Corgan designed for thicker than usual concrete walls to act as additional insulation, enhance acoustics, decrease maintenance and remain more durable. Leigh says there's also little paint and carpeting throughout the project, which alleviates maintenance for operators and limits or eliminates sources of undesirable chemical compounds sometimes found in the built environment.
Landscaping uses Xeriscape plants that require less water and absorbent soil allowing for a 79% reduction in water usage. The entire building uses about 40% less energy than baseline.
Just under half of materials used were either sourced locally or recyclable. About three-fourths of construction waste was diverted from landfills. The project's balanced approach to efficiency acted like DNA dictating sustainability, Kirk tells us.