Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Austin’s got a brand new stage — a 3D-printed one, that is! In partnership with ICON, the city of course had to break in the new performance space with some live music. It’s the first in the world, after all. So in case you didn’t get to check it out during SXSW, we sat down with Brooke Bauguess, ICON’s VP of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs, to learn more about ICON as an Austin-based company, how this stage came to exist, plus the future of 3D printing and the arts. Read on to get the full scoop!

Cara Caulkins (left) Director of PR & Events with Brooke Bauguess (right) VP of Communications and Marketing. Photo Credit: Chad Wadsworth
My name is Brooke Bauguess and I am the Vice President of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs for ICON.

I grew up in Austin and fondly remember attending special events at Long Center and now bring my children to enjoy performances there like the Nutcracker.

3D-printing the future

Tell us ICON’s story. What are you all about?

Austin-based ICON develops advanced construction technologies in service to humanity in order to solve great problems and pursue grand opportunities. We exist as a response to the global housing crisis. Construction-scale 3D printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way that entire communities are built for the better. The U.S. faces a deficit of 6.5 million new homes, and worldwide there are 1.6 billion humans that lack adequate shelter. There is a profound need to swiftly increase supply without compromising quality, beauty, or sustainability, and that is exactly the strength of ICON’s technology.

ICON has delivered 3D-printed homes for folks who were experiencing chronic homelessness right here in Austin, TX, with Mobile Loaves & Fishes at Community First! Village, the first 3D-printed homes sold in the U.S., 3D-printed a Martian habitat for NASA and barracks for those serving their country with the Texas Military Department and U.S. Army, plus partnered with world-renowned architecture firm, BIGBjarke Ingels Group. The largest neighborhood of 3D-printed homes is underway in Georgetown, Texas, in partnership with Lennar, one of the nation’s leading homebuilders. The homes are codesigned by BIG and will be available to purchase beginning this year.

We also announced during SXSW 2023 a new collaboration with Liz Lambert to reimagine and 3D print a new 60-acre community development and expansion of El Cosmico in Marfa, TX, that will feature housing, hospitality amenities, and a hotel.

Additional social housing, disaster relief housing, and market-rate housing projects are also underway in addition to developing construction systems to create infrastructure and habitats on the Moon and eventually Mars with NASA.

Previous slide
Next slide

Jason Ballard, ICON CEO, gives opening remarks at the unveiling. Photo Credit: Erika Rich // Tameca Jones performs on the 3D-printed cosmic pavilion. Photo Credit: Erika Rich // The Bros Fresh perform on the 3D-printed cosmic pavilion. Photo Credit: Erika Rich // First-ever concert on the new performance pavilion. Photo courtesy of ICON.

Everything begins with an idea

We know that ICON has done projects in Austin before. What sets this project apart from the others, and why did you choose the Long Center as its location?

We are still pinching ourselves that this once crazy idea to 3D-print the world’s first performance pavilion and unveil it during SXSW has come to fruition, and at the most iconic location for the arts and creative community in Austin. We began discussing the possibilities in November 2022 and before we knew it, the team at ICON was 3D printing the pavilion on the Long Center Hartman Concert Lawn by February 2023. The innovative structure, printed by ICON’s Vulcan construction system using proprietary software and advanced material, took 14 days to complete, and became the backdrop for a series of events and musical performances attended by more than 1,300 guests during SXSW.

L-R Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Liz Lambert (El Cosmico), and Jason Ballard (ICON) Photo Credit: Chad Wadsworth

The cosmic-inspired amphitheater is a gift from ICON, Liz Lambert, and the BIG team to the City of Austin as a creative expression of the best of Texas optimism, creativity, and innovation. The performance pavilion brings a taste of the West Texas project ICON has underway with Liz Lambert, El Cosmico, that parallels and reflects the architectural design themes made possible only by 3D printing technology. The design combines and extends some of these themes into a single, sculptural piece that serves as a landmark and a gathering space for culture, community, and the city in the heart of downtown Austin. We are beyond grateful to the City of Austin, the Long Center, and its Board members for believing in the new innovative technology and seeing the long-term vision for what the pavilion could bring to the creative culture, community, and the arts in Austin.

We look forward to seeing programming from musical acts and dance performances to theater and panel discussions taking place on the 3D-printed venue, and offering a central community gathering space with unparalleled access to the arts. My personal hope is to see children within the Austin community on stage one day soon!

In the future, we will build differently than we build today

How did the motivation for this project impact the overall look and design? What was that process like?

We have the honor of working alongside one of the greatest architects of all time, Bjarke Ingels, and his talented team at BIG. They understand what ICON’s robotic construction can bring in terms of new design vernaculars and languages and that the world doesn’t want to see straight lines and boxes. The organic forms, curves, and shapes that we’re able to make with the 3D printer are magical and otherwise seen as complex and associated with handcraft, but now made possible by robotic technology. With this particular print, we were able to bring to life curves and lofted geometries never before seen with our homes and structures printed to date. The BIG and ICON teams worked on the design and engineering plus printed a test wall at our laboratory before bringing the mobile, gantry-style printer to the Long Center. We love how it turned out and hope the community will enjoy the arts in Austin for years to come at this cosmic pavilion under the Texas stars.

Aerial photo of ICON's Vulcan construction system 3D printing the performance pavilion. Courtesy of ICON.

How can technology continue to help the arts, and how does this project at the Long Center help Austin artists specifically?

Set with the beautiful Austin skyline as its backdrop, the performance pavilion reminds me of some of the most iconic outdoor music venues in the country. There aren’t many options for an intimate outdoor performance venue to enjoy your favorite artsits in Austin, and what I love about the Long Center is they offer free events for the public to come and enjoy like The Drop-In concerts, which begin May 25th. Supporting the local music scene is one of many ways we see this stage being utilized, and we are thrilled to have played a small part in making the arts even more accessible for Austinites and visitors to town.

Any tips for how everyday folks can support the arts and community through technology, too?

ICON announced during SXSW the launch of Initiative 99, a global architecture competition to reimagine affordable housing and aimed at designing accessible, beautiful, and dignified homes that can be built for under $99,000. Registration for the competition opens in the summer of 2023 and architects from all over the world including firms, individuals, and university students are encouraged to participate. The multi-phase, year-long competition offers a total prize purse of $1 million. ICON has committed to building a selection of the winning designs at multiple locations to be announced in the future.

If you know of an architect, designer, or dreamer who wants to make a difference, please encourage them to sign up to hear when registration opens for Initiative 99. Everyone deserves a dignified home. At ICON, we believe 3D printing is the way to deliver homes at scale and that the housing of the future must be different from the housing we have known. In the future, we will build differently than we build today.

Concept render of ICON's 3D-printed affordable housing. Courtesy of ICON.

What a way to start our 15th year! And we’ve got more where that came from. Look out for more announcements about The Drop-In and we’ll see you on the lawn to experience the new performance pavilion really soon!

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

The Heller Awards for Young Artists are back for the 10th year!

We kicked things off on March 5 with a Virtual Nominations Ceremony, but in case you missed it, you can watch the recording below 👇 Be warned; this video may inspire spontaneous song and dance.

THE 2023 haya NOMINEES ARE…

Best Choreography

Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Big Fish | Cedar Park High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

Mamma Mia! | Weiss High School

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

Best Musical Direction

Kiss Me, Kate | Georgetown High School

The Wizard of Oz| Marble Falls High School

Big Fish | Cedar Park High School

Anastasia | Rouse High School

Into the Woods | Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Best Orchestra

Chicago (High School Edition) | Tom Glenn High School

Kiss Me, Kate | Georgetown High School

The Little Mermaid| San Marcos High School

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Into the Woods | Liberal Arts and Science Academy

SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Best Lighting Design

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

SpongeBob SquarePants | Pflugerville High School

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Mamma Mia! | Weiss High School

Little Shop of Horrors | East View High School

Best Costume Design

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

The Phantom of the Opera | Dripping Springs High School

Anastasia | Rouse High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Little Shop of Horrors | Hutto High School

The Little Mermaid| San Marcos High School

Best Scenic Design

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Mamma Mia! | Weiss High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Little Shop of Horrors | Hutto High School

Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Best Technical Execution

The Little Mermaid| San Marcos High School

Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Anastasia | Rouse High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Little Shop of Horrors | East View High School

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Best Ensemble

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Kiss Me, Kate | Georgetown High School

SpongeBob SquarePants | Pflugerville High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Best Featured Performer | Individual Category

Vitor Larson-Parachini | Fred Casely | Chicago (High School Edition) | Bastrop High School

Jordan Williams | Pepper | Mamma Mia! | Weiss High School

Kendra Vaz | Granny, Giant | Into the Woods | Liberal Arts and Science Academy

Erica Ortuno | Nikko | The Wizard of Oz| Del Valle High School

Micah Freeman | Mitch Mahoney | The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee| Manor Senior High School

Valeria Trujillo | Chef Louis | The Little Mermaid| Jarrell High School

Maddie Robbe | Mona | Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Crystal Sin | Trix the Aviatrix | The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Ella Duncan | The Mayor of Bikini Bottom | SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

Best Featured Performer | Ensemble Category

Kaely Smith | Featured Dancer | Chicago (High School Edition) | Tom Glenn High School

Zada McElroy | Aquata | The Little Mermaid| San Marcos High School

David Luna | Featured Dancer | Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Acacia Thompson | Skid Row Soloist | Little Shop of Horrors | Hutto High School

Nelson Stevenson | Featured Dancer | Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Kira Griffin | Alabama Lamb | Big Fish | Cedar Park High School

Logan Russey | French Narrator | SpongeBob SquarePants | Pflugerville High School

Ian Vizcarra | Hot Blades Harry | Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Presley Muirhead | Swan Lake Dancer | Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Student Achievement | Marketing

Ava Deviney | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Andrea Diaz | East View High School

Livy Korioth | Leander High School

Khai Pormprasong | Bastrop High School

Emily Marchal | Weiss High School

Mollie Walters | Brentwood Christian School

Claire Poulter | Cedar Park High School

Emma Ludwig | Tom Glenn High School

Owen Ramirez | Rouse High School

Nicolas Pacelli | Vista Ridge High School

Mariana Rojo | Jarrell High School

Harper Claes | Jack C. Hays High School

Margaret Baker | Dripping Springs High School

Rebekah Page | NYOS Charter School

Student Achievement | Design

Anna Fox | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Eric Taylor | East View High School

Gabe Healey | Leander High School

Samantha Mason | Liberal Arts and Science Academy

Yeva Tcharikova | Westwood High School

Vanessa DeLeon | Bastrop High School

Sean Avalos | Weiss High School

Christian Young | San Marcos High School

Maeryn McCormick | Brentwood Christian School

Mikayla Mitchell | Del Valle High School

Jocelyn Adair | Cedar Park High School

Eleanor Peters | Tom Glenn High School

Cassandra Lovell | John B. Connally High School

Evvan Turner | Rouse High School

Rachel Cooke | Vista Ridge High School

Ana Siqueira | Lehman High School

Leo Chavez | Jarrell High School

Austin Duke | Jack C. Hays High School

Natalie Kernick | Dripping Springs High School

Maeve McElwee | NYOS Charter School

Student Achievement | Stage Management

Ava George | Pflugerville High School

Zoe Gravois | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Julian Garcia | Northeast Early College High School

Andrea Diaz | East View High School

Briana Keaster | Leander High School

Douglas Brito | Liberal Arts and Science Academy

Wednesday Kollodge | Westwood High School

Lizzie Brock | Weiss High School

Fog Alder | San Marcos High School

Keira McCormick | Brentwood Christian School

Charlotte Adair | Cedar Park High School

Kendall Shuck | Tom Glenn High School

Cassandra Lovell | John B. Connally High School

Sarah Apple | Rouse High School

Kiera Aston | Vista Ridge High School

Lilly Gonzales | Lehman High School

Jakob Voigt | Jarrell High School

Keira Cousins | Jack C. Hays High School

Audrey Lorenz | Dripping Springs High School

Piper Silvey | NYOS Charter School

Best Supporting Performer | Male Category

Chance Solis | Gangster One | The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Gabe Paredes | Squidward Q. Tentacles | SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

Hector Perez | Orin | Little Shop of Horrors | East View High School

Nick Bohle | Charlemagne | Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Jack Stratton | Underling | The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Isaac Vega | Mushnik | Little Shop of Horrors | East View High School

Carver Ulrich | Harry | Mamma Mia! | Leander High School

Hudson Stauffer | Vlad Popov | Anastasia | Rouse High School

Jude Jecker | Adolpho | The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Best Supporting Performer | Female Category

Addi Villegas | Little Sally | Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Savannah Chavarria | Catherine | Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Tiara McRee | Little Red | Into the Woods | NYOS Charter School

Kyra Carr | Officer Lockstock | Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Ellie Loudermilk | Fastrada | Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Presley Copeland | Penelope Pennywise | Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Ashley Mondru | Pugsley Addams | Addams Family, The | Brentwood Christian School

Maya Krauss | Oscar Shapiro | Curtains | Lehman High School

Charlotte Blackmon | Berthe | Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Best Lead Performer | Male Category

Hosea Downing | Gomez Addams | The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

Jaxon Larson | The Scarecrow | The Wizard of Oz| Elgin High School

Jonas Taylor | Lieutenant Frank Cioffi | Curtains | Lehman High School

Ramero Vargas | The Cowardly Lion | The Wizard of Oz| Cedar Creek High School

Aidan Cox | Edward Bloom | Big Fish | Cedar Park High School

Walker Wallace | Dmitry | Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Langston Lee | Dmitry | Anastasia | Rouse High School

Chavin Medina | Billy Flynn | Chicago (High School Edition) | Bastrop High School

Brady Allen | Will Bloom | Big Fish | Cedar Park High School

Best Lead Performer | Female Category

Allie Meredith | Morticia Addams | The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

Tori Ybarra | Hope Cladwell | Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Emma Boerm | Dorothy Gale | The Wizard of Oz| Marble Falls High School

Julia Almendra | Velma Kelly | Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Peyton Nisbett | Anastasia | Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Arianna Pierce | Witch | Into the Woods | NYOS Charter School

Anabelle Crawford | Man In Chair | The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Lauren Ryan-Holt | Leading Player | Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Starlyn Rivera | Natalie Heller | All Shook Up | Northeast Early College High School

Best Direction

Anastasia | Round Rock High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Anastasia | Rouse High School

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

SpongeBob SquarePants | Pflugerville High School

Best Production

Urinetown | Hendrickson High School

Anastasia | Round Rock High School

The Addams Family (School Edition) | Jack C. Hays High School

Chicago (High School Edition) | Cedar Ridge High School

Anastasia | Rouse High School

Pippin | McCallum Fine Arts Academy

SpongeBob SquarePants | Westwood High School

The Drowsy Chaperone | Vista Ridge High School

Congratulations to all the performers, crews, educators, schools, and families who participated! We’ll see y’all in Dell Hall real soon; April 19 to be exact. Until then, be sure to follow @hellerawardsatx on the social media platform of your choice for school shout outs and behind-the-scenes goodies. 

From the news desk to Meredith Stage and everywhere in between, Olga Campos Benz is one of the Long Center’s biggest fans! And let us say, the feeling is mutual 😍 We thought we’d check in with her to see which of the many events we’ve hosted these past 15 years are her favorites and learn a bit more about how she’ll be supporting the Icon Awards. But enough from us, read what Olga has to say 👇

Hola, Austin!

Hope this Mid-Week Intermisison finds everyone preparing for an awesome April and with calendars already marked to join me at the Icon Awards on April 6th as we honor the people, organizations, and corporations for their commitment to the arts.

Since the Long Center became Austin’s home for the performing arts, no one has exemplified wholehearted giving like Eva Womack. From the first capital campaign to establish the Long Center to various arts organizations, Eva and her late husband, Marvin, have been generous supporters and beloved members of our arts community. Likewise, corporate giant AT&T will be recognized for its leading role in building a strong and inclusive creative home at hte Long Center, making Austin a better place to thrive, explore, entertain, and creat! Mil gracias Sra Womack y AT&T!

I’m thrilled to be serving as the Emcee for the Icon Awards, which will take place on the Meredith Stage of Dell Hall. My mind flashes back to other times I’ve been honored to step on that very stage. As a former Trustee of the Long Center, after my first meeting I ventured near the footlights while thinking, “Wow! How it must thrill every performer who walks out here knowing each seat is filled by someone eager to capture a beautiful memory of a live performance to keep in their memories forever!”

Because that’s exactly what happens with each thrilling performance afterwards and for always. For me, it’s the memories of attending a UT Tailgate event organized by my daughter Allegra; or the annual holiday tradition of The Nutcracker with loved ones; and I’ll never forget the excitement of attending both Jimmy Kimmel Live tapings during SXSW?!?!

Olga & Kevin

Then there was the time my husband, Kevin Benz, and I served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Long Center’s Birthday Bash where we stepped on stage to welcome the audience to see “The Beatles: Let It Be” tribute show. You wouldn’t have recognized us since we were dressed like characters from the Sgt. Peper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. What a fun evening!

But perhaps my fondest memory of stepping on stage is from 2008 when, as a TV news reporter, I toured the venue before it opened to the public. I remember being in awe of the possibilities of the best live performances, family-friendly experiences, and memorable occasions for the entire community — all about to take place both inside and outside.

What excites me most about the Long Center, then and now, is that the venues goes far beyond being the home of the Founding Resident Companies. It welcomes all genres of music! There’s an eagerness to host out-of-the-ordinary performances. In fact, the Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel with The Avett Brothers Birthday Bash, and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, are among my very favorite shows inside the Long Center.

Outside, there are too many to count! Kevin and I are excited about the return of The Drop-In music series, and we love the fact that everyone is welcome to take photos, host a picnic, gaze at the skyline, and just soak in the beautiful vibe of ATX while on the lawn and H-E-B Terrace. During my time as a Long Center Trustee and now in my current role as media consultant and community advocate, I continue to be most proud of the commitment by the Long Center staff and sponsors to roll up their sleeves and roll out the red carpet for everyone!

So let me end this letter of greeting to all by echoing some of my favorite phrases:

¡¡Bienvenidos a todos!! ¡Nos vemos pronto en el Centro Long!
Welcome to all!! See you soon at the Long Center!

Yours always,

Olga Campos Benz
Former TV News Anchor/Reporter

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone