Sam Houston State University, James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center

Huntsville, Texas

  • FIRM

    WHR Architects


    Sam Houston State University

  • AREA

    101,945 sq.ft.





Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, is the second-fastest growing university in the state with a national reputation for its theater, music and dance curriculum. The James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center brings together performance and teaching spaces for the dance, music and theater departments, and creates distinctive ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$377.65FEATURED IN2012 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYAuditoriums/Music Rooms for each department. 

The ambitious program includes a 787-seat concert hall and 160-seat dance theater, as well as a new home for the dance department. The comprehensive facility houses three theater rehearsal studios, a body-conditioning room, costume shop, scenery shop, four large dance studios and department offices. Sloped roofs clad in bronze metal panels enable the large volumes of space required of the dance, music and theater to be expressed architecturally, creating a dramatic presence on the campus skyline.

Inside the building, natural light and bold colors bring life to key public spaces. Creating an environment that encourages interaction among the disciplines and inspires students and art patrons in a common delight for the arts were primary design goals.