Monday, April 1, 2013

Long Center

The Palmer Auditorium, built in 1959, was emblematic of the 1950's.   It was futuristic.  The decor was 50's-modern, and the building was a round shape with a giant domed roof covered with multi-tinted aluminum sheets that looked like copper.  Next to the round dome was a big cube:  This held the giant stage and the fly space above the stage.   Altogether, it was an architectural icon on the Austin landscape.

Austin had a plan to create a new Palmer Auditorium and they built a brand new Palmer Events Center just west of the original building.  Then, in 2005, the original Palmer was disassembled to create the Long Center.  Over 90% of the Palmer's materials were recycled somewhere, and over 60% were recycled at the Long Center, which was completed in 2008.

The "Ring of Saturn" is the old Palmer perimeter.  On the grass out front sits a circle of frosted glass - this was the previous dome's center keystone and skylight.  At night they illuminate it with colored lights from below.  The pendant ceiling fixtures found currently in the Rollins' Lobby are from the original 1950's Palmer.  The multi-colored metal sheets are the Palmer's old aluminum roof. They can be seen on the exterior facade, inside the elevators, and as art on the walls in the lobbies.  The stage of the Palmer, one of the largest in Texas, was lowered 10 feet to increase the fly space above.  Finally, the lovely grey Italian marble that you see around the bathrooms sinks was saved from the Palmer's toilet stall walls.

Long Center

(512) 457-5100
701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, TX  78704

Tours: Wednesdays at 11am and 12 noon