Midtown catalyst

Lake|Flato and Studio Red Architects selected to design Midtown arts center

Lake|Flato and Studio Red Architects selected to design Midtown arts center

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The new Independent Arts Collective building plans to be the hub for smaller arts groups now located nearby. Courtesy of Morris Architects - Ensemble/HCC Livable Centers Study
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The IAC building is proposed for a Midtown location across from the Ensemble/HCC light rail stop. Courtesy of Morris Architects - Ensemble/HCC Livable Centers Study
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Ted Flato and David Lake Photo via SeedsAndFruit.com
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Bill Neuhaus of Studio Red Photo via Studio Red
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Dominic Walsh Dance Co. will be just one of many performance groups to use the facility. Photo by Tony Spielberg
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Dominic Walsh Concert 1

The Independent Arts Collaborative has announced that architectural firms Lake|Flato and Studio Red have been selected to design the organization's new art complex planned at Main and Holman in Midtown.

The multi-tenant performance and exhibition space will be designed with the input of nearly 40 Houston arts groups. Organizations like DiverseWorks, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, and Aurora Picture Show have been involved in recent discussions, although participating groups have yet to be finalized.

"This is an amazing opportunity to work with such a wide range of disparate arts groups," Ted Flato, principal architect at San Antonio’s Lake|Flato, told CultureMap. "We look forward to getting everyone's input. In the end, the architecture clearly will reflect that spirit."

 “I love the idea of looking at this not as a building, but as a place,” said Ted Flato, principal architect at San Antonio’s Lake|Flato.

 With an estimated cost of $25 million, the 85,000-square-foot complex is planned to feature a 400-seat theater, a large exhibition space, and five black box performance spaces as well as workshop areas, classrooms, and office space.

Slated for completion in 2015, the IAC center is poised to become catalyst for Midtown commercial, residential and cultural development.

“I love the idea of looking at this not as a building, but as a place,” Flato said. “We imagine a central street-level area, something like a plaza, with many types of facilities opening onto it. It’ll be a building with many front doors.”

Flato said the architectural design team plans to work with Bob Schultz, the developer behind the nearby blocks containing the Continental Club and Natachee’s, as his company plans building projects next to the new art complex.

IAC board chair Emily Todd envisions the new site, located steps from the Ensemble/HCC METRO stop, as an arts destination, “a place people might visit without a particular exhibit or performance in mind.”

“This is the first major Midtown project designed with specific consideration for the light rail,” said architect Bill Neuhaus of the Houston firm Studio Red. “One of our primary concerns is making the building work with the surrounding streetscape.”

The IAC was founded in 2005 by a collection of smaller arts organizations — including DiverseWorks, Main Street Theater, and Suchu Dance — looking to create an affordable, permanent home to stage performances and exhibitions. After years of searching for a location, the IAC purchased the property at 3400 Main from the City of Houston in July 2011.

Lake|Flato's work is best known in Houston for its designs for the H-E-B Montrose Market and H-E-B Buffalo Market. Studio Red is designing the new performance hall at the University of St. Thomas.