East Central High School Performing Arts Center

San Antonio, Texas

New performing arts center offers an interactive look at theater production

The design for the East Central High School Performing Arts Center was inspired by the theater production process. All the production rooms in the 37,500-square-foot building—from costume design to scene creation—are arranged in a circle with broad windows, allowing students, parents and the community to get an up-close look at the behind-the-scenes activity. The building seeks to be a teaching tool, displaying each phase along the path to a performance in sequence as a “feedback loop” around the auditorium.

Part of a 15-year relationship between LPA and the East Central Independent School District (ECISD), the performing arts center includes a 1,000-seat auditorium with lobby and stage; 6,800 square feet of theater program space with dressing rooms, costume/scene shop, full-scale rehearsal room; 3,250 square feet of choir space for an ensemble; a sound/recording room; office space and support areas for concessions, restrooms and box office.

On the exterior, vertical fins and roof overhangs were used to mitigate the harsh South Texas sun, while maximizing natural light. The emphasis on daylight in key areas such as the lobby and rehearsal room provides long-term energy cost savings, lowering the lighting load on the building. LPA’s design improved efficiency by nine percent from initial projections, freeing up financial resources for advanced acoustics and technology in the theater.

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