Combining one of San Antonio’s most beloved architectural icons with advanced technology to create one of the most flexible multi-purpose performance halls in the United States, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts embraces the multi-faceted cultural identity of the city. Drawing inspiration from San Antonio’s rich vernacular of color, pattern and public celebration—the new performing arts center offers a diverse architectural experience capable of continuous transformation in response to programmatic and environmental influences. The aspirations for the renovation/expansion project were threefold: to create a large, flexible-floor, multi-use performance space with acoustics comparable to the world’s finest concert halls; to maintain the historic entrance and arcade of the Spanish Colonial-style building for future generations; and to create a vibrant connection between the city’s main cultural venue and the River Walk.
While retaining the Municipal Auditorium’s treasured historic façade, the Tobin Center weaves a new 183,000-square foot facility into its framework of public space—including a 1,768-seat main performance hall, and a 231-seat studio theater. These rooms rapidly change seating and stage geometry, lighting, color and acoustics to suit the unique qualities and objectives of each performance. Large-scale customized systems in the performance hall create virtually endless possibilities in room configuration and visual expression—in effect giving the city many venues in one and providing local arts groups with unlimited possibilities to attract new audiences with innovative programming.