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February 18, 2011

This past October, the city of Austin celebrated the reopening of Arthouse at the Jones Center—the oldest contemporary art organization in Texas. New York-based architects Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis tripled the size of the original building, which was a theater in the 1920's, a department store starting in the 1950's, and a cultural center starting in 1995. The building's latest incarnation retains a sense of its layered history (original frescos in the upstairs gallery, for example) while pushing the design in a decidedly futuristic direction. Here's a glimpse of Austin's new architectural icon, with images by photographer Michael Moran.

An aerial view of the new 20,830 square foot building at 700 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
An aerial view of the new 20,830 square foot building at 700 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
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The exterior is perforated with 177 custom laminated glass units, illuminated by LED lights at night.
The exterior is perforated with 177 custom laminated glass units, illuminated by LED lights at night.
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Another look at the glass boxes, from Seventh Street.
Another look at the glass boxes, from Seventh Street.
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The glass-lined entry lobby opens the building up to the street, allowing views from the sidewalk far into the building. A sculptural plaster awning, referencing the former department store, intensifies the public presence and openness of the building.
The glass-lined entry lobby opens the building up to the street, allowing views from the sidewalk far into the building. A sculptural plaster awning, referencing the former department store, intensifies the public presence and openness of the building.
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The grand central stair provides spatial and visual connections to the second floor gallery. The bottom three steps of the stair are cast concrete, while the rest is crafted from ipe wood.
The grand central stair provides spatial and visual connections to the second floor gallery. The bottom three steps of the stair are cast concrete, while the rest is crafted from ipe wood.
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A view of the ipe staircase from the second floor. The staircase dramatically suspends 35 feet down from the roof.
A view of the ipe staircase from the second floor. The staircase dramatically suspends 35 feet down from the roof.
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This is the Mary Garwood Yancy Gallery on the first floor.
This is the Mary Garwood Yancy Gallery on the first floor.
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The previously inaccessible second floor is now dedicated to a large column-free gallery with a suspended and mobile 57-foot-long wall.
The previously inaccessible second floor is now dedicated to a large column-free gallery with a suspended and mobile 57-foot-long wall.
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A close-up of the second floor gallery wall, with original stucco frescoes, wooden ceiling, and steel trusses from the building's previous life as the Queen Theater. Throughout the building, historical features and contemporary additions are creatively in
A close-up of the second floor gallery wall, with original stucco frescoes, wooden ceiling, and steel trusses from the building's previous life as the Queen Theater. Throughout the building, historical features and contemporary additions are creatively intertwined.
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Here's the gallery as it looked during its opening exhibition, "More Art About Buildings and Food," in which artist Jason Middlebrook transformed detritus from Arthouse’s building renovation into sculpture, dining furniture, and other functional objects.
Here's the gallery as it looked during its opening exhibition, "More Art About Buildings and Food," in which artist Jason Middlebrook transformed detritus from Arthouse’s building renovation into sculpture, dining furniture, and other functional objects.
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This is the 90-seat community/screening room.
This is the 90-seat community/screening room.
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The public mezzanine-level lounge is a comfortable place to hang out and browse Arthouse reading materials.
The public mezzanine-level lounge is a comfortable place to hang out and browse Arthouse reading materials.
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The roof deck, made of Ipe wood and laminated glass light boxes, measures 5,000 square feet and is equipped with a 22-foot-wide movie screen.
The roof deck, made of Ipe wood and laminated glass light boxes, measures 5,000 square feet and is equipped with a 22-foot-wide movie screen.
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Rooftop deck bonus: panoramic views of downtown Austin.
Rooftop deck bonus: panoramic views of downtown Austin.
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A nighttime view of the striking building.<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dwell/id411793747?mt=8"><em><strong> FREE app from iTunes</strong></em></a><em><strong>, fr
A nighttime view of the striking building.

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An aerial view of the new 20,830 square foot building at 700 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
An aerial view of the new 20,830 square foot building at 700 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.

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