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How I.M. Pei designed a "symphony for the eyes" in Dallas.

The Meyerson's curved windows bring light to the vast, multi-level lobby.
Dane Walters
/
KERA
The Meyerson's curved windows bring light to the vast, multi-level lobby.

This episode of the KERA video series "The Shape of Texas" explores the architecture of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, a haven for choral and orchestral music in downtown Dallas.

Designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, who also designed Dallas' City Hall, the Meyerson's cube shaped structure was built with tens of thousands of limestone blocks, inset with massive windows that bring natural light into the spacious lobby.

The Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, the building's centerpiece, is finely tuned to maximize sound quality. The two-tiered stage allows for both seating behind the performers on the ground level as well as additional space for larger groups of musicians. One of the world's largest concert organs sits behind the stage, featuring over 4000 pipes.

On the upper level of the concert hall, reverberation chambers open and close depending on the type of performances. The upper canopy that hangs above the stage can also be lowered in order to alter the acoustics of the space.

In the decades following the symphony hall's grand opening in 1989, the space has been hallowed ground for singers, orchestras, composers, and audiences alike.

KERA's“The Shape of Texas” video series explores how our built environment holds our history, reflects our diverse cultures and projects our ambitions for the future. From the glittery, kitschy Beer Can House in Houston to the soaring Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, architecture helps tell the story of who we are in Texas.

Find out more aboutthe Meyerson including other buildings designed by I.M. Pei.

Max Chow-Gillette is the Fall 2022 Art&Seek intern.