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Austin PBS gets a new state-of-the-art facility with three studios

Building Team

Austin PBS gets a new state-of-the-art facility with three studios

As the new home for the birthplace of the Austin City Limits TV series, the roughly 70,000-square-foot-facility features a studio space that can be reconfigured for various live-audience productions.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | July 14, 2022
Austin PBS ext
Courtesy Andrea Calo.

Since the 1970s, Austin PBS, birthplace of the Austin City Limits TV series, has been based inside the communications building on the University of Texas campus—a space it has long outgrown. In 2017, the design and planning began for a new state-of-the-art facility located in Austin Community College’s Highland Campus, a former shopping mall.

Designed by Austin architecture firm Studio Steinbomer, the roughly 70,000-square-foot facility, opening this year, has three TV studios. One studio serves as a live audience and community outreach venue. This 6,500-square-foot space has retractable seats and can be reconfigured for live music, town halls, and other productions with live audiences. The other two studios accommodate non-audience programming.

The three studios share walls with workspaces, so the design team placed prime importance on acoustics and sound deadening. The live-audience studio has a floating slab, a silent air conditioner, and highly absorptive materials. So a meeting in the next-door conference room would be undisturbed by a live music performance on the other side of its walls. 

Austin PBS’s new home is the first 12-gig digital broadcast network facility for any public television in the US, according to a statement. To highlight the state-of-the art tech, the architects kept much of the 300 miles of cable fully exposed, housing it in custom channels cut out of the ceiling.

A large portion of the building is partially subgrade. So to mitigate the feeling of being underground, the lighting quality mimics skylights and the sun’s movement, creating circadian rhythms that allow people to sense the time by the quality of light. Interior finishes include a mix of bright colors, natural warm wood tones, and nature-simulating colors. And whimsical, industry-specific details include On-Air lights indicating occupied bathrooms.

On the Building Team:
Owner: Austin Community College
Developer: RedLeaf Properties
Design Architect - Exterior: Gensler Austin 
Design Architect, Architect of Record - Interiors: Studio Steinbomer (interior remodel level one, and interior of addition)
MEP engineer: Bay & Associates Inc. 
Structural engineers: Cardno and Tsen Engineering 
General contractor: Rogers-O’Brien Construction 
Construction manager: PMA (Project Management Advisors) 

Austin PBS int
Courtesy Andrea Calo.
Austin PBS int 2
Courtesy Andrea Calo.
Austin PBS int 3
Courtesy Andrea Calo.

 

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