Statement by I.M. Pei
The plan of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is a combination of overlapping geometric forms. It starts with a rectangle set at an angle within a square and is enveloped by segments of circles. The central rectangular form houses the performance hall. Surrounding it, under a sweeping glass canopy, are various layers of programmed and unprogrammed public space, including an expansive skylit lobby, a garden court restaurant and sculpture garden. The total structure is titled toward the skyline to establish a visual connection with the city’s emerging Arts District and with Dallas’ urban center.
The building program required a design that would accommodate two different, but related, functions. Of paramount importance is the performance hall. Its forms and shape are the result of rigorous adherence to the acoustician’s requirements for audience distribution, unobstructed sight lines, and acoustical excellence. Seating 2,062 people on four levels, the concert hall focuses on the performance platform and on the grand concert organ. Suspended above the orchestra is a back-lit acoustical canopy which, together with three smaller flanking canopies, can be mechanically raised or lowered for perfected symphonic sound. Notwithstanding technical constrains, the hall was designed to possess a quality of ambience that gives pleasure to the making of, and the listening to, music.
In contrast to the necessarily closed character of the performance hall, the surrounding public areas are transparent by day and night, offering an inviting place to congregate when performances are not in progress. These intricately glazed spaces have been designed to provide visual excitement through the manipulation of light, movement, and changing perspectives. In this way, the Meyerson Symphony Center reaches out to a larger public than those attending performances; it helps to anchor and enliven the Arts District while enriching the city as a whole.