A resounding success: achieving international recognition, financial sustainability and acoustical performance
Opening its doors just over a year ago in downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts has already made good on its promise to serve as an outstanding venue while maintaining a sustainable operation. As anticipated, the facility, which is built upon a mixed-usage development model, was kept full and active all year round thanks to a Gala Venue multipurpose hall, equally well suited for music and special events. As the reviews show (see three articles enclosed herewith), this truly flexible venue has not only been able to serve its constituents as a permanent single purpose hall with outstanding acoustics, but is also capable of achieving consistently high occupancy rates and financial sustainability by providing a broad cross-section of events.
Designed by LMN Architects of Seattle in partnership with San Antonio architectural firm Marmon Mok, the Tobin Center’s exterior combines the historic Spanish Mission-style façade of the Municipal Auditorium with a striking new structure, covered with a metallic LED-lit ‘veil’. On the inside, it features a traditional 1750-seat main performance hall with proscenium arch and orchestra pit, modernly equipped with a Gala Systems fully automated mechanical floor. This transformable system automatically reconfigures the hall from a raked seating layout to a flat floor space, with virtually endless sub-configurations in between. Such a versatile space lends itself to a highly efficient use of every square foot, the key to hosting a panoply of events with sound financial returns.
Tobin transformation video
As recently reported in the San Antonio Business Journal (Downtown San Antonio’s Tobin Center scores international recognition), this unifying space had absolutely no trouble attracting audiences through a broad variety of events. Indeed, based on ticket sales, the Tobin Center achieved international acclaim in its first year of operation. Equally impressive is how, in that same period, it had no need to request any annual subsidies. In Tobin Center Reports Surplus for the First Year, published in the San Antonio Express News, the Center projected a surplus of approximately $1 million by the end of 2015. Further, the Tobin’s main multipurpose hall had nothing to envy of the best acoustics venues after running sound tests. As outlined by the San Antonio Express News (Tobin Center’s acoustics to rank with the best), experts from Connecticut-based Akustiks LLC concluded that audiences would be blown away by a sound they haven't heard before.
This tremendous success – international recognition, financial sustainability and acoustical performance – illustrates perfectly how an advanced technology like the Gala Systems fully automated mechanical floor is a sensible solution for today’s competitive performing arts industry. With unsurpassed quality standards for each configuration (world-class acoustics, high-quality comfort and sightlines) and the conversion process itself (speed and functionality), this transformative solution is clearly a key element in drawing more attendees on a daily basis. While some performing arts centers are inevitably struggling to adapt to ever-changing markets and highly variable income streams, others, like the Tobin Center, have become enterprising, inventive and flexible to hold their own!
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