University of St. Thomas’s New Performing Arts Center Moving in Next to Menil Campus

Here’s a view of the 4-story, 93,760-sq.-ft. performing arts center the University of St. Thomas plans to build on the northwest corner of its Montrose campus, on the full city block bounded by West Alabama, Yupon, Sul Ross, and Graustark. A feature article on the project in the university’s magazine describes the site provocatively as being “adjacent to the Menil Collection,” but it’s really catty-corner to the Menil block that contains the Rothko Chapel, a long block east of the Menil’s famed shielded-by-bungalows main building. In the drawing above you’re looking at the new UST center from high above the Rothko Chapel’s east lawn, toward the corner of Sul Ross and Yupon.


The university is touting the venue as “a big boost to other performing arts groups in the city” as well as its own programs. The design by Houston’s Studio Red Architects includes an 800-seat proscenium theater, a “black box” flex theater that can seat 250, a conference hall, classrooms, large rehearsal spaces, and extensive lobbies and terraces for university events. A fundraising campaign for the project began last December.

Rendering: Studio Red/UST

21 Comment

  • They better be careful with the new Nazi Sound Ordinance. Lots of residences around there…..

  • It’s a little annoying that even HEB took the notion of scale in consideration when building their Dunlavy @ Alabama location, ala The Menil and UST is putting in this big’ol honking thing. If they’re making it huge I hope they at least put in a parking garage.

  • Any performing arts theater is going to have to be four stories to accomodate the fly system and stage props or orchestra shell for music concerts. This building will be next to a four story parking garage and a three story residence hall. Not much of a scale issue as it is mostly contained within the campus. Looks nice. UST has been trying, awkwardly, to position itself to grow as Houston grows. Look for more building projects in the future.

  • As stupid as the noise ordinance may be, let’s step away from comparisons to genocide and wholesale nationalization of the economy…

  • Lets face it. The Holocaust began with a Nazi noise ordinance instituted in Nurmburg in 1934. It was a quick and slippery slope to having gas chambers. Likewise, the most recent act of nationalization of a private oil company in Argentina actually has it roots in a similar noise ordinance established in Buenos Aires in 1939.

  • I live in the neighborhood, and for a couple of reasons, I’m not worried about excess noise from this new performing arts center. For one, the way it’s shown, the entrance appears to directly face the UST dorm across the street, so if there are issues with loud noise, it’ll be the UST students themselves who will probably complain first. Second, this is a performing arts center, not a bar or club playing loud dance music until all hours of the night, so there will probably be far fewer incidents of drunk patrons stumbling out of the place in the middle of the night.

  • Actually I kind of like the design. Especially the ice skating rink on the roof.

  • This looks beautiful and is an amazing replacement for what they have now-Cullen Hall. It will be a great resource not only for UST’s own performances, but to rent out to performing organizations as well as the article points out. Those of you mentioning noise-what performing arts centers are you guys going to that you can hear the performance any further than the lobby (and even then, I know at Moores Opera House you can’t even hear the performance in the lobby). If you can hear the performance outside of a place like this, they built it wrong.

  • So performing arts are going to be UST’s big thing from now on?

  • @Bubba: WTF are you ON dude? The Holocaust, really?

  • I live two blocks north and am excited to welcome this beautiful addition to the neighborhood. The St Thomas campus is a mid-century architectural gem.

  • Bubba, step away from the Fox.

  • Jezus Hussein Krist! You people have no sense of humor.

  • Pretty nice, but the roof looks like an upside down McDonald’s roof.

  • Can’t say that the design is particularly inspiring, but I do like the ice rink on the roof.

  • Me thinks Bubba had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

  • Good and bad. Nice to have a performing arts center nearby, but we are a couple of blocks North. Traffic is already horrible trying to cross Alabama on foot or trying to turn into my street when the counterflow lanes are in effect. Also, there will those who won’t park in their garage (which they will hopefully build for the new facility)and will park in the neighborhood, where parking is already at a premium, and overlap driveways.

  • Performing arts aside… Why the *heck* did whoever made this rendering, see fit to literally chop up the Houston skyline and put one shell plaza along with BofA and Pennzoil place randomly off to the right of the Enron bldg?!

    And that view of the skyline (even if it were accurate) isn’t at the right angle in relation to the site at all.

  • Come on Swamploters! You’re off your game. It took 17 posts until the ZOMG! TRAFFIC! showed up!

  • Me thinks a lot of people suffer from knee jerk NIMBYism much like the same NIMBYism that has infected so many near the Ashby high rise site. It’s seem that their only argument is traffic. You live in the city, there’s traffic. Now move to Kingwood or Katy and let the city progress, thanks.

  • Well the LRT is going right by there in the relatively near future anyway. It’ll be a busy little part of town.