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AUSTIN-Chicago architect Leigh Breslau has unveiled a design to convert the Palmer Auditorium into the $89 million Long Center for the Performing Arts.

The auditorium, built in 1958, will undergo a top-to-bottom renovation in 2001 and feature a six-tier, 2,310-seat main hall, changes to mid-size Topfer Hall and Rollins Halls, additional dressing rooms and a updated support services space. Garages to accommodate the performing arts center are already under construction along Barton Springs Road.

The main hall will boast 100-foot-high ceilings, a change necessitating the raising of the roof, an ornate staircase, full-service bars and a glass-encased donor’s lounge complemented by a cafe and gift shop.

Breslau of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is teaming with Austin’s TeamHaas Architects for the redesign, which includes creating a novel main entrance scoop built from the auditorium’s saucer-shaped structure. The goal is to create a new building utilizing geometric lines throughout, but retain the integrity of the old one.

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