Diamond Schmitt Completes The Buddy Holly Hall in Lubbock

The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, a new state-of-the-art performance venue in Lubbock, Texas, recently inaugurated its landmark building.

Designed by Diamond Schmitt in association with Parkhill and MWM Architects of Lubbock, built by Lee Lewis Construction, and developed by Garfield Public/Private LLC, The Buddy Holly Hall is now open to patrons and will formally celebrate its opening this summer.

The building is West Texas’ largest dedicated performance venue—bringing the city’s vibrant performing arts community including the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Lubbock, and the Lubbock Independent School District, and more.

The new 218,000-square-foot Hall anchors Lubbock’s arts and culture district and holds a multitude of performances and programs in the grand 2,297-seat Helen DeVitt Jones Theater, the more intimate 415-person Crickets Theater, and other flexible spaces for rehearsal and performance, as well as a restaurant, two multi-purpose rooms and an outdoor covered amphitheater.

Buddy Holly Hall building exterior. Image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt. Photography credit: Casey Dunn.

“We are thrilled to finally begin welcoming audiences into The Buddy Holly Hall and to give the people of Lubbock and the region the state-of-the-art facilities our incredible performers deserve,” said Tim Collins, Chairman of the Board of the Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association which founded and operates the Hall. “Diamond Schmitt deeply understood our community’s dream to create a performing arts campus that promotes entertainment for our region, while also serving as an arts education hub and a cornerstone for downtown revitalization. The result is a beautiful, world-class space unlike anything in our area that will bring our community together and create a new destination for the arts in Lubbock. We can’t wait to celebrate this momentous occasion with a grand opening this summer, when it’s safer for everyone to gather together in person.”

Diamond Schmitt’s design of the $158 million Hall was selected in 2014 following a competitive process. Their modern design is inspired by the colours and shapes of the landscape of West Texas, including the prismatic and layered rock formations of Texas canyons.

The layout of the interior spaces will accommodate the Hall’s wide-ranging performance line-up—from hosting ballet, symphony, school, opera, pop and country performances to Broadway productions to statewide band and choir competitions.

Targeting LEED Silver, the building’s façades meticulously balance various approaches to creating shade to counter the South Plains Region of Texas’ extreme temperature fluctuations. A long overhang, angled concrete fins, and deep-set ribbon windows all act as architectural drapery to cool the building and filter light without obstructing the views of the wide vistas surrounding the Hall.

Dissolving the threshold between indoors and outdoors, the Hall’s use of glass at ground-level entrances creates an inviting and seamless transition for visitors entering and exiting the Hall. Inside, the building moves from spacious public lobbies to more liminal spaces leading to several intimate studios and The Buddy Holly Hall’s two signature theaters, which were designed, in collaboration with partners Jaffe Holden Acoustics and Schuler Shook Theatre Planners, to ensure premier acoustics and optimal theater capabilities.

Additionally, the seating in the Helen DeVitt Jones Theater can be reconfigured to accommodate the hall’s vast range of programming. The orchestra seating section can be set for traditional raked fixed-chair seating or for popular flat-floor general admission.

“Just as the idea for The Buddy Holly Hall grew from the Lubbock community, our modern design for the building is inspired by the region’s physical and cultural landscape,” said Matthew Lella, Principal at Diamond Schmitt. “We designed a building that is both open and outward looking and yet simultaneously invites the public to engage with all the activity happening inside. Responding to the unique challenges of the site—from the intense Texas heat to its location in a flood plain—we have created a signature new space for the performing arts with world-class facilities that embody the spirit of the performers who will be gracing its stages.”

The Hall is named for Lubbock native Buddy Holly, who sparked a cultural revolution in the 1950s with his music. A signature feature of the Hall’s Christine DeVitt Main Lobby is its iconic guitar wall depicting Holly playing a Stratocaster. Designed by Texas artist Brad Oldham, the site-specific sculpture weaves together 9,000 aluminum brushed bronze guitar picks in an array of sizes to create an image of the Hall’s namesake.