You are here

Overture Center for the Arts

-A A +A
1999–2004, César Pelli and Associates, Potter Lawson, Flad and Associates; 2004–2006, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. 201 State St.

Madison’s premier cultural center is home to theater, opera, and dance companies, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. The building incorporates historic facades—the French neo-Renaissance Yost Building (1923, Frank M. Riley) and the Spanish Baroque Capitol Theater (1928, Rapp and Rapp)—with a modernist, triangular structure in a not entirely successful design. In doing so, the historic streetscape’s pedestrian scale was retained. Abundant windows along the street allow pedestrians to see into the welcoming spaces. And yet the poorly proportioned, oddly shaped glass dome above the Yost Building is unfortunate. The modernist structure that occupies the rest of the block terminates in a four-story glass prow containing a grand staircase to second-floor galleries and a rooftop sculpture garden.

Entrance to the center is through the former Yost Building, which opens into a multistory rotunda lit by the glass dome. The Overture Hall lobby features the same French Montségur limestone used on the exterior, sycamore wall panels, and Turkish travertine marble floors. The 2,250-seat concert hall has wave-like perforated ceiling panels to create drama while providing outstanding acoustics. At the center of the building, the interior of the former Capitol Theater has been reconfigured for better acoustics and sight lines, yet retains its opulent Art Deco interior.

By integrating older, still usable landmarks with dramatic contemporary forms, Overture Center is a characteristic product of its time. Reuse, recycling (75 percent of materials from demolished buildings on the block were recycled), and redevelopment of the core city all show the sponsors’ faith in the future of the arts and civic life. Local printing magnate Jerome Frautschi and his wife Pleasant Rowland, the creator of American Girl dolls and books, funded the building.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
×

Data

What's Nearby

Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Overture Center for the Arts", [Madison, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-DA25.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 445-446.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,