Designed by David M. Schwarz of Washington, D.C., and HKS of Dallas, the Bass Performing Arts Rehearsal Hall won the unanimous acclaim of the judges for its breathtaking aesthetics and innovative solutions to site challenges. The facility provides rehearsal and office space for the recently completed Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performing Arts Hall (last year's winner of Masonry Construction's Best Institutional Building award). The two new rehearsal spaces flank a previously constructed central office complex that includes an existing office building (circa 1920). Each side of the facility has a distinct architectural façade to give the appearance of separate buildings even though they are connected.

"The project is very well-crafted," said Pat Rand, when reviewing the entry submitted by Lucia Constructors. "It is exquisite in materials, with two different architectural styles (Art Deco and Richardsonian) in one building," added coordinating judge Colin Munro. The beautiful colors and brickwork are what seized the attention of Bill Palmer, who was also impressed with how the contractors overcame the challenge of extremely tight access.

Lucia Constructors was responsible for the shop drawings, engineering, supply, and installation of 1500 cubic feet of cast stone and 750 cubic feet of granite. This Houston-based masonry contractor also installed more than 41,000 concrete masonry units and over 53,000 brick (including three color blends of standard brick and three colors of glazed brick). The external walls feature a structural CMU backup.

Kevin M. Camarata, vice president and general manager of Lucia, cited four principal challenges that confronted the project team. First, the complex occupies a full city block and is very close to the street in downtown Fort Worth; this very tight site necessitated just-in-time delivery of all materials. Second, the many different façade materials had to be coordinated. Third, manufacturing the cast stone and brick details and fabricating the granite required extreme care; the shop drawings showed precisely all of the shapes, relief, and finishes required by the documents.

"The fourth and most substantial challenge was the installation of all the components," stated Camarata. "The pilaster design was so complicated that installation drawings were prepared showing the exact locations of each glazed brick in addition to the cast stone. The brick patterns include diagonal stacked, stacked, running, and Flemish bonds and were installed with three different mortar colors."

Project team
Performing Arts Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas
Architects: David M. Schwarz, Architectural Services, Washington, D.C., HKS Inc., Dallas
Structural engineer: Walter P. Moore & Associates, Houston
Masonry contractor: Lucia Constructors, Houston
General contractor: Linbeck Construction, Houston