ERO Architects Celebrated the Opening of a World-Class McAllen Performing Arts Center

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Eli Ochoa, president and CEO of ERO Architects. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

First audiences dazzled by size, colors and aesthetics for a perfect theater experience in the McAllen area

Texas Border Business – 

McAllen, Texas –ERO Architects, the Hispanic-owned award-winning architectural firm, celebrated the opening of its hometown McAllen Performing Arts Center with VIP and community events, and presented Tony award-winning Annie as the center’s premiere Broadway production.

ERO Architects led the $45 million, 1,828-seat theater design and build process of the Rio Grande Valley’s largest, most modern, and technologically-advanced theater with design support from Holzman Moss Bottino Architects, a New York City-based firm with cutting-edge theater design experience.

“The McAllen Performing Arts Center is going to be a place of memories, where our community can watch great performances from national organizations as well as their kids on a stage that could compete with venues in New York, Chicago, or any big city in Texas,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “This is a truly special place unique to things we are proud of in the Valley. This is going to be an award-winning building.”

“Our theater design tells a story grounded in south Texas,” said Eli Ochoa, president and CEO of ERO Architects. “It reflects our firm’s design philosophy, to tie a building’s aesthetics to the culture and environment of its community. Our primary design metaphors of palm trees and the Indigo Bunting migratory bird combine to make this a home for all people and cultures of Valley communities.”

ERO Architects drew inspiration for the Performing Arts Center’s exterior walls from complex, intricately woven trunks of stout, sturdy native palm trees common to McAllen, the city of palms. The walls can be lit with different colors to reflect the seasons and special events and serve as a landmark for the city’s convention center area.

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The lobby welcomes all visitors with the colors and vibrancy of the migratory Indigo Bunting, a brilliant, iridescent blue songbird which travels through the Valley, to Mexico and beyond, before returning to heartland America and Canada each spring. Richly hued seating and curtain materials base their colors from local McAllen bougainvillea’s while detailed millwork pays homage to native Texas mesquite and pecan trees.

Doug Moss, a partner with New York City-based Holzman Moss Bottino architects, was part of a unique effort that united Texas with Big Apple performance meccas. “Our office worked with ERO Architects throughout the process and our focus was to make the interior a little jewel box that transforms you for an evening’s performance,” Moss said. “All the implications of the flora and fauna as it relates to the Valley are something you will not find anywhere else in the country.”

The stage amazes the eye at more than eight stories tall and 1½ times the size of a professional basketball court. The audience feels the immensity of a space that could contain the volume of 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools, having the effect of making every production feel as large as Texas.

Computer programs adjust more than 10,000 square feet of acoustic fabric on the walls and ceiling to accentuate the sounds of the Valley Symphony or Broadway musical troupes. The interior arches are solid pecan wood acoustic reflectors which produce smooth, even sound.

Adam Epstein, the chief executive officer of Innovation Arts and Entertainment, commented on the venue’s draw. “The stage, building and facility will bring the exact and biggest shows that are playing on Broadway. Nothing will be compromised in terms of show production due to venue limitation. This is one of the most exciting days in my company’s 15-year history because it’s something we’ve worked on, to build an audience for Broadway with a facility that can host the best.”

In addition to Annie, the Valley community can enjoy December performances from Tony Bennett and ELF: The Broadway Musical. In early 2017, Mama Mia, Jersey Boys, Dirty Dancing, and Greater Tuna performances will entertain at the McAllen Performing Arts Center. TBB