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Holmes High School Fine Arts Center fosters youth creativity.

The stepped building façade and colonnade gives a friendly human scale to the entry.
The airy Auditorium lobby offers a variety of surfaces to display art and sculpture.
The site provided both challenges and opportunities to celebrate its uniqueness.
A soaring performance space features an orchestra pit, adding flexibility.
Practice spaces are acoustically engineered for effective sound isolation.

The Holmes Fine Arts Center campus improvement project, supported by City bond funds, proposed a fine arts facility competitive with the best in the city. Our state-of-the-art facility expands possibilities and builds on tradition.

If you can cheer it, sing it, paint it, put it into prose, or strut it in a parade – young people are perfecting it at Holmes Fine Arts Center. The Fine Arts Center supports the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Theater Arts, and the Journalism department. The Center is also home to a mariachi band program, a much-loved tradition of Hispanic culture increasingly popular at high schools in the region. Embracing the ambitions of this historic high school to grow its arts programs to the fullest, we worked to create not just an academic building, but a cultural asset to the school and to the community.

Northside Independent School District
San Antonio, Texas
74,000 SF
Completed 2019

The stepped building façade and colonnade gives a friendly human scale to the entry.
The stepped building façade and colonnade gives a friendly human scale to the entry.

Our design for the Center delivered a community asset with the main stage alone: a 900-seat auditorium, with a large stage with full fly loft and operable orchestra pit. In addition, the Center houses classrooms, practice and performance spaces for the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Theater Arts, and Journalism departments. It is a magnet for students in a lively variety of creative pursuits, enriching campus life.

Expanding square foot capacity while maintaining an existing footprint is nothing new in redevelopment projects. However, in this case, we not only preserved the footprint of the existing fine arts building, leaving the campus layout and traffic functions unchanged, but also managed construction during the school year while minimizing interruptions to campus activity. We also conserved legacy trees for upper and lower courtyards, preserving the character that only mature trees can contribute.

A grade change of 14 feet over the building footprint offered both challenge and possibility. We proposed a split-level scheme, locating the art and journalism classrooms on the ground level, tucked under the band halls with views out to new exterior spaces. Acoustic insulation isolated sound, allowing close proximity of band classes above the journalism classrooms. Ground-level Journalism and Art classrooms open onto dedicated exterior spaces connected to courtyards of existing adjacent academic buildings.

Project Team

Consultants

Structural | Persyn Engineers
MEP | Wallis Engineering Group
Civil | MRT Engineers
Landscape Architect | Cooper Lochte
Theatrical, A/V, Acoustic | WJHW

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