Firm chosen to lead restoration of Kalita Humphreys Theater


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


Frank Lloyd Wright, North Texas
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The Kalita Humphreys Theater is Frank Lloyd Wright's only free-standing theater built during his lifetime and his only public building in Texas. It opened to the public in 1959.

The theater has long been in need of restoration. In the late 1960s, barely a decade after the project was completed, a number of ill-suited alterations were made. Kelly Oliver, Wright's apprentice who managed the original theater construction as well as some of the future alterations, later admitted he regretted the changes, saying "You should never fiddle with a Frank Lloyd Wright design."

The decline was further excacerbated by a complicated arrangement that divided responsibility for maintenance of the theater and its surrounding landscape between two city departments and left the Kalita in a bureaucratic limbo. 

Over the years, many groups, inlcuding Docomomo US, Docomomo US/North Texas, the Kalita Humpheys Theater at Turtle Creek Conservancy, have pushed for the restoration project to move forward. 

Now, the Dallas Theater Company (DTC) has announced the firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro will lead the renovation, starting with the development of a master plan for the site. According to the DTC, "In keeping with Wright’s organic, nature-inspired vision, the master plan will connect the Katy Trail, Dean Park and the surrounding neighborhoods of Uptown, Turtle Creek and Oak Lawn to the Kalita Humphreys Campus, making the entire site an accessible public space for all." 

Public Meeting Wednesday March 4th, 2020

DTC will host a public information session on Wednesday March 4th from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm at the Kalita Humphreys Theater for those interested in learning more. 

DS+R will present their relevant past works, which will inform their design approach to the Kalita Humphreys master plan. Attendees will be invited to provide written feedback that night or via the link for public comment