Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts
2006 MCAA International Excellence in Masonry Award Winner
Brazos Masonry, Inc.
Architect: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates
The Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts has forever changed the cityscape of Amarillo, Texas. The only elements of this project which look familiar to residents of this city are the panels from the walls of cattle trailers that the architect used to adorn the ceiling. This project is truly a state of the art structure. It even employs a one-of-a-kind retractable orchestra shell. More than 85,000 CMU were used as back up, stair wells, and elevator shafts. Well in excess of one thousand tons of Colorado Red sandstone were used on the exterior and interior, along with 210,000 brick. Please note all the brick had to be intentionally laid backwards (shiner side out). There were also 10,000 zig-zag brick laid in the practice hall, as prescribed by the acoustical engineer. The structural element required more than 380 yards of grouted CMU cells.
Now, notice the overall design. The undulating masonry surfaces are a constant in this non-traditional application of established masonry mediums. Only two facets afforded our laying brick on a single plane. The vast majority of walls were serpentine or radius in design. Even the zig-zag brick in the practice room were laid on a radius. Now, factor the height and close tolerances allowed by the specifications in placing the rough-faced Colorado stone. The pinnacle of the exterior reached 104 feet from curbside and the stone had to be laid so occasional courses projected out in what the architect termed random ledges. The brick, when laid backwards, transformed itself into a fluted brick. This can be one nightmare of a challenge when laying it on a serpentine wall. The only normal portion of this endeavor was the grey CMU.
The project is an overall masterpiece, architecturally speaking. Its straight lines, serpentine walls, and radius walls make up a visually pleasant and functional forum as diverse as the contributors who brought it into existence. It needed master craftsmen who could share in the creative insight of the designers, and bring those designers' ideas to life.