Casa Manana – Lancaster

The first Casa Manana, an outdoor theater with a massive revolving stage, was built for the Texas Centennial celebration in 1936. By the time the Casa Manana concept was revived in the late 1950s and construction on a new facility began, only the stage mechanism of the first building remained. The current Casa Manana theater building, located adjacent to the site of the original structure, was designed by A. George King and Associates utilizing the “Kaiser Aluminum Geodesic Dome.” Henry Kaiser, founder of Kaiser Aluminum, designed the system based on geodesic principles developed by Richard Buckminster Fuller. Construction contracts for Casa Manana were let on April 25, 1958 to Butcher and Sweeney Construction Co. of Fort Worth. Originally designed as two geodesic domes connected by a passage way, Casa Manana was the second building in the country to be constructed with a Kaiser dome. The single aluminum dome was completed in 114 days; sections were pieced together at the center, then lifted by a large central crane as additonal sections were added. The unobstructed view inside the geodesic dome allowed the theater to stage its plays as “theater in the round,” and both the building and the staging technique were thought to be ultra-modern approaches to theatrical production.

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