NEW YORK, NY
In 1998, a master plan for expansion of Playwrights Horizons’ existing building was developed, including a new larger main stage with traps and pit, a new studio theater, rehearsal rooms, backstage support space, and administration and production areas. The planning included an air rights transfer and integrated development with a neighboring and overhanging mixed-use building.
The building brings all of Playwrights’ activities together under one roof in an environment that fosters the openess and inclusiveness of their working environment. The building houses two theaters, administrative and production offices, rehearsal studios and generous public areas and production support spaces.
The main theater will accommodate 198 seats, while the studio seats 96 or 128 people, according to individual needs of each production. The administrative floor is sandwiched between the two theaters, serving as a sound barrier as well as bringing the administrative staff closer to the actual productions. Rehearsal rooms and backstage areas are well-organized and accommodating, with sinks in every dressing room and lots of storage space for performers. Public restrooms are plentiful, especially for women.
A broad stripe of glass punctuates the stone façade of the building, creating tiers of people visible from the street. Bold signage identifies the building; sophisticated interior finishes accentuate curved and straight planes. Playwright’s new building expresses the stability and innovation of this off-broadway institution.
Cost: $24 Million
In 1988, Normal Hall was modestly altered to become the site of the 100-seat theater for the Chautauqua Theater Company and its conservatory training program. This wood frame landmark building, the oldest on campus, is located in a landmark district, close to the Chautauqua village center and adjacent to the opera house and a residential area.
Renamed the Bratton Theater in 2000, a new stage house was added, doubling the size of the existing building. New audience seating was built for 270 people. A new lobby extension was added, as was a new dressing room wing. New rigging, stage lighting and theater sound systems were added. New facilities and features include dressing rooms, accessibility to backstage and front-of-house areas, and handsome architectural detailing sympathetic to the simplicity and style of the original building. Handicapped accessibility was provided to all public areas, stage and backstage areas. Preserving the identity of the old Normal Hall while vastly expanding the size of the building was one of the design challenges. The building presents a larger scale public face to the main street and a smaller scale face to its residential neighbors.
Site improvements included expanding the walkways and stairs to accommodate the larger audiences attending performances. A new kiosk provides box office and concession services to the theater and adjacent opera house. Site conditions, noise considerations and concern for preserving the finely textured wood interior required special attention to placing mechanical equipment. Newly installed air conditioning is invisible from within the historic structure. Refrigeration equipment providing chilled water to the theater is located off-site to isolate machine noise from the theater and the residential neighborhood. Air handling equipment was located within a new cellar space below the stage, isolating mechanical noise from the auditorium and stage. Air is distributed to the audience from below the seats so there’s no visible duct work.
Special regulatory variances were obtained to allow the building’s wood construction to be maintained and expanded for the new theater. Emergency systems including smoke purge, emergency lighting and power, sprinklers, standpipes, fire detection and alarm systems were incorporated. Building systems allow shut-down at the end of the season in accordance with the Institution’s summer-only needs, so winter heating is not required. Design of the mechanical systems is in step with the architectural objectives to preserve the form, texture and appearance of the existing historic building.
Since its construction, the Bratton Theater has been distinguished as recipient of:
The Design Award for Historic Preservation/ Adaptive Re-use from the AIA New York Chapter, 2001.
Design Award for Restoration from the AIA Buffalo Chapter, 2001.
Honor Award from the United States Institute of Theater Technology, 2001.
Cost: $4 Million
The Chautauqua Amphitheater is at the heart of its community – physically, programmatically, and emotionally – and has been since its construction in 1883. Because of its decayed condition, inaccessibility, inadequate seating capacity, poor technical and backstage support spaces, and out-of-date lighting, audio, and video systems, current programming and operating needs required a significant enlargement and facility renovation. After evaluating multiple renovation and expansion plans, the Institution decided that a new 21st Century building that preserved the feel and appearance of the existing building would best serve their needs, embracing the technology of today and serving as a platform for tomorrow, providing a welcoming and comfortable place for performers, patrons, and presenters.
The Amp is used for orchestra performances, dance concerts, pop-music concerts, opera performances, lectures, video presentations, and church services. During the 9-week summer season, there are four events per day.
The new Amp feels like the old Amp yet provides improved safety and accessibility, sightlines, load-in, and bench seating comfort. Acoustics are improved for orchestral performance, and new audio systems support other performance and presentations. Audience capacity is increased. Wood ceilings and cladding and a familiar color provide visual and aural connections to the prior Amp.
The front-of-house seats 5,000 people in an outdoor amphitheater under a roof, increasing the seating capacity by 10%. The FOH comprises 41,460 square feet. Seating surrounds the performance area. Upstage, an historic organ occupies its traditional location behind the balcony which contains general seating and which is also used as a chorus loft. A front-of-house control booth, follow-spot booth, in-house audio mix positions, and stage-side monitor mix positions are provided. An orchestra pit lift may also be used for orchestra seating and as a forestage extension.
The back-of-house support building has 3-stories of dressing rooms, rehearsal space, music library, instrument storage, and technical support spaces.
Historic approaches to the site were reshaped as community gathering areas, framing new green gathering areas. The Amp provides community connectivity to existing adjacent buildings and spaces, provides openness and free views to the Amp interior, and provides community gathering space within and around the Amp perimeter. Storm water runoff is controlled with the use of rain gardens and bio-swales, nourishing native plants and a new generation of trees.
Cost: $35 Million
In February 2002, Mitchell Kurtz Architect PC began a study to upgrade the Chautauqua Opera’s facilities. As the first step, we conducted a Visioning session with the leaders of the Chautauqua Institution and the Opera to explore and define their goals.
The current home of the Chautauqua Opera, Norton Hall, was evaluated for renovation. Due to the extensive and character-altering nature of the changes necessary to upgrade the building for opera, it became clear that Norton Hall would be best suited for adaptive re-use and that a new opera house could be considered.
The proposed siting and design solution creates a performing arts neighborhood, linking performance venues for music, theater and opera. The design responds to the context of Chautauqua in a contemporary way by the use of local vernacular design elements such as overhanging eaves, exterior steps and porches that link the building to the open space. The siting of the building creates two new exterior spaces: a green, welcoming front lawn and a lively, artfully paved piazza.
The proposed building creates ample and comfortable spaces for audience and performer, with an intimate house, world-class sightlines and acoustics, and a sympathetic fit within the Chautauqua campus. The auditorium houses 1,200 people, distributed among an orchestra, parterre, mezzanine and balcony. The house is warm and intimate, with much shorter distances between the most remote seat and the stage than at Norton Hall. The stage and backstage accommodations are amply-sized and well-appointed. The orchestra pit seats 45, and a forestage extends halfway over the pit, providing balance to the voice and orchestral sound and bringing the performer closer to the audience.
Handsome, durable and lasting materials as well as energy-efficient heating and cooling systems are proposed, creating a sustainable and economic solution.
Project Date: 2002
Projected cost: $17 Million
The ARTS moved in to the BANK on Broad Street as the first of the new performing arts facilities on the Avenue of the Arts. The roof top sign announces the arrival of the ARTS BANK as a jazzy addition to Philadelphia’s vernacular tradition of buildings with idiosyncratic tops.
Major alterations were required to create a 240-seat theater, dance studio and cafe. Backstage facilities for this professional presenting house include large dressing rooms, green room, wardrobe room, control areas, stage management offices and an office for the building administration.
Complete modernization provides new building systems and accessibility to every public space, administrative and performance area. There are plenty of new bathrooms, especially for women. Energy-efficient building systems provide ultra-quiet heating and cooling. Special construction isolates Broad Street subway and traffic noise from the theater.
New designs and modern equipment do not overpower the personality of the historic Bank. The new theater infrastructure is laid over the existing architecture, with a transparency that allows both the original building and the new renovation to be seen. Respectful rehabilitation preserves historic resources and provides new, highly functioning spaces.
Cost: $4.5 Million
NEW YORK, NY
El Museo del Barrio operates a theater and galleries within a multi-service community center. With this project, we restored the historic interior of the theater, replaced chairs with custom-designed seating and fabric, installed new stage rigging and stage lighting, new air conditioning in the theater and museum galleries, and provided life safety upgrades throughout the building.
Cost: $3.3 Million
NEW YORK, NY
We worked with New York Theater Workshop for six years, helping them gradually grow and create a permanent home. For three years, we helped evaluate possible places for NYTW’s new home, creating preliminary designs and helping with project budgets.
NYTW acquired a warehouse for the theater, for which we produced a phased development plan.
First, a modest theater was created inside the former warehouse with minimal alteration, in order to get NYTW functioning. Later, renovations were made to an adjacent building, purchased by NYTW, for offices and rehearsal studios.
The third phase of construction raised the roof of the theater, enhancing the theater’s production capability. A new façade and lobby were created. The theater’s interior design was substantially altered, changing proportion, texture, rhythm and color. New stage rigging and lighting were installed along with new heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Future work includes expansion of the main theater stage, seating and support areas.
A master plan has been created which outlines future development of each of the buildings and links between them. This plan is used as an active tool to explore new program ideas. Project sequences are adjusted to accommodate pressing needs and practical availability of time and money. All new construction is coordinated with the master plan to avoid wasteful re-working.
NEW YORK, NY
The building adjacent to New York Theater Workshop’s main theater, currently used for office space and rehearsal, is home to the latest round of renovations. A new entry, lobby and reception area for the administration building is proposed. A pattern of open and closed wooden shelving wraps wall surfaces, becoming a storage unit and a dramatic backdrop for the new reception.
The lobby opens into the new Larson Lab theater space, intended for readings, workshop performances and meetings. The flexible space encourages different orientations and arrangements despite its long proportions. Flat floor and stepped platform arrangements are designed for different types of uses and various sizes of gatherings. The enclosing surfaces provide warmth and variety to this workshop environment, while providing solutions to practical concerns. A natural wood screen absorbs and diffuses sound and hides mechanical ducts. Exposed brick and concrete visually anchor the opposite ends of the room.
New public bathrooms will be added in the basement, increasing current size and number of toilet facilities. New mechanical systems and an electrical upgrade, including provisions for theater equipment, will be added in addition to a new elevator which will be constructed as the next step in the implementation of the master plan.
Project Date: 2001
Cost: $1 Million
NEW YORK, NY
NYTW, a developmental theater company, has a new building to house a scenery shop, a costume shop, and a prop shop across the street from its theater, rehearsal studio, and offices. The building aspires to achieve two seemingly contradictory goals: to be as open and welcoming as NYTW’s other buildings are in the community, yet to be closed and protective so that noise, dust, and danger are kept from the neighbors.
Daylight is brought deep into the building with a glass enclosed stair, glass panels above the street level loading door, a band of windows at the front, windows at the back and skylights. The open glass corner and overlook balcony makes use of the unique condition of having the NYTW facade closer to the street than the adjacent building on that side.
The facade is made of ground faced concrete block, and above the windows, a band of split-faced rusticated block. Block masonry is used to form kinship with nearby brick masonry while the larger scale block differentiates the building from its residential neighbors. The artful composition of the facade express NYTW’s artistic mission and differentiates this industrial building on this mixed-use block.
The Shop will contain a wood shop, a metal shop, a paint area, a costume workshop and storage area, dyeing and fitting areas, a small workshop for props, a technical director’s office with an overlook to the paint and assembly area, and common space for meetings and breaks. Each of the shops has a separate air handling system with heat exchanger to control energy costs and to separate odors and dusts from the other shops. Careful air barrier detailing and heavy construction separates the scenery shop from the costume shop to reduce odors and noise. Rooftop mechanical units are surrounded with noise barrier panels and positioned with the loudest equipment farthest away from neighbors to reduce environmental noise.
Substantial amounts of fresh air are available to maintain a healthful indoor environment. Spot ventilation is used in the each of the shops to remove noxious air. Lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors; several levels of lighting are available to suit different tasks and control energy. Dual flush toilets and low-flow fixtures reduce water use and sewer discharge. The building is registered as a LEED project aiming for Gold.
Cost: $2.7 Million
NEW YORK, NY
Signature Theater opened their 1997 season in a new theater on 42nd Street and added a new marquee and street signs in 2000. The Signature Theater Company concentrates on the work of a single author during each season. The stage is large for a small theater, reflecting Signature’s mission to concentrate on the words, imagery and ideas of the author being presented. There are currently 176 seats, with planned expansion to 200 seats.
Signature’s theater is intended to be a public space of intimate proportions, a cozy forum, a place conducive to the exchange that occurs between audiences and performers. The trellis-like marquee sign, forms an open porch just outside and begins the transition to the intimate theater within. Tall doorways, emphatic color and other large-scale elements comport with smaller-scaled textures and patterns to create an inviting civic setting for a small crowd. The theater feels like a large reading room, focusing on the human figure and the spoken word.
In the front of house, the lobby features a sales area and bookcase for plays, biographies and merchandise related to Signature’s authors. Donor signatures are engraved in the armrests, screened onto elements of construction and the interior finish. In Peter Norton’s case, his signature is carved into the concrete structure itself. Rough textures of the building structure contrast with refined finish textures. The blend of buttery wood grain, vivid woven fabrics and poured concrete form a cohesive composition that lends warmth and intimacy to the theater and lobby.
Cost: $1.1 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The Cherry Lane Theatre, an outpost of avant-garde theater production since 1924, is now dedicated to promoting the development of new playwrights. Alterations have updated its aged facilities to support vibrant contemporary programming by enhancing the theater’s street presence, improving stage-audience relationships, increasing audience comforts, expanding back-of-house facilities, and upgrading environmental systems.
The entry has been reconceived and recomposed. The lobby is transparent and inviting; exterior brick walls and stone floors are continuous in to the lobby. The theater entrance has been brought to the street as in the original theater; it has big, thick doors to keep the inside quiet and private. The box office and theater doors are made of brightly colored lacquered wood. Newly made traditional materials are used with contextual proportions and modern detailing, lacing together existing and new elements.
Inside the theater, finely machined cherry wood slats and boards with occasional hand carved flowers are layered over the original brick and rubble walls. Old materials are revealed behind new, rough seen against smooth. Slats and boards are placed for improved acoustics and to support stage lighting and sound equipment at ideal locations. Thick, slatted cherry-wood doors connect theater with lobbies and exits.
The intimacy of the stage-audience relationship is enhanced by removing the proscenium and by improving sightlines to the stage. Comfort is improved with upholstered chairs and more generous spacing. A single aisle is used for efficiency; its diagonal orientation diminishes the appearance of an audience divided.
New audience amenities include a concession bar, more bathrooms and accessibility throughout. Usable space was increased by relocating parts of the mechanical plant from the first floor. The second floor has new dressing rooms, separate performer bathrooms, and administrative offices.
Theatrical lighting and sound systems are designed to contemporary standards and crew controls are placed in an ample control booth with view of the stage. New theater air conditioning is comfortably distributed and extremely quiet. Building-wide upgrades were made to systems for heating, hot water, ventilating, electrical power, fire alarm, and air conditioning. New rooftop equipment mechanical equipment is designed with special care to protect neighbors from exterior noise.
With this renovation, the legendary Cherry Lane Theatre maintains its neighborly Village presence and asserts a contemporary identity for a new generation of theater artists and audiences.
Cost: $1.75 Million
NEW YORK, NY
Fordham University at Lincoln Center wanted to renovate a room used for theater classes and student performances as part of an initiative to improve the quality and visibility of its theater program. The Kehoe Studio Theatre was created to fulfill that need.
The site of the new Studio Theatre was a plain black classroom that was used as a theater lab. This room sits adjacent to a mechanical equipment room and had lots of ductwork, drainage piping, and conduits passing through it; as a result it was crowded, filled with low-hanging obstacles, and noisy, unsuited to a theater.
The Kehoe Studio Theatre is situated at the intersection of two corridors. A new vaulted ceiling and rectangular frame span the width of the space trumpeting the location of the Studio Theatre and framing its entrance. Fordham’s dark red signature color is used in the pigmented Venetian plaster wall, complimented with orange Chinese lacquer and earth-toned linoleum used as a pin-board surface. Glossy finishes and stainless steel lettering sparkle and draw attention to the new theater.
The very wide opening at the corridor tapers into a narrower aisle leading to its fifty-one custom-designed fixed seats. The seating and the stage are surrounded by walls made of several shades of dark red wood slats. Steel pipes line the walls and the ceilings where they are placed to hang stage lighting, audio equipment, and scenery. The slatted walls provide acoustical reflections and conceal materials that provide acoustical absorption for the room and attenuation of outside noises. A heavy noise barrier wall was erected between the mechanical room and the theater. Sound lock vestibules, doors, and partitions were designed to enhance the acoustical quality of the theater by reducing external noise.
The ceiling, painted a dark grey color, has a system of steel pipes for scenery, lighting, and audio support, along with distributed outlet devices for stage lighting, sound and video. The coffered ceiling has acoustically absorptive materials placed deep in the coffers along with a system of incandescent house lighting and fluorescent work lighting. Push button controls allow several lighting “looks” for rehearsal, classroom use, or housekeeping, so that a stage lighting control board operator does not have to be present to operate the preset lighting controls.
A control booth is located at the back of the house, and it can be accessed from the house or from an adjacent corridor, through a storage area below the seating. The latest in new theater systems were installed for stage lighting and audio and the backbone installed for video projection. New mechanical systems are separately zoned and centrally controlled by the campus system. The ventilation and air conditioning system is specially designed to be quiet to suit the needs of a theater used for spoken drama. Extraneous ducts, pipes, and conduits were relocated away from the Studio Theatre to remove obstructions and noise sources and to allow the installation of a pipe grid at the ceiling.
New actor entrances are provided from each corner of the room: from stage left and stage right, from the entry aisle, and from the booth by the use of a cross-over located in a corridor outside of the Studio Theatre. The stage floor is “sprung” and resilient to provide comfort for actor movement. Stage lighting equipment is integrated within an existing dimmer room serving a nearby auditorium. Accessible wheelchair viewing positions are provided by removal of fixed chairs which is simply accomplished without tools or lifting.
Cost: $1.7 Million
The awareness of gravity and our inescapable and constant relationship to it in the present fuels Elizabeth Streb’s avant-garde dance company and gives direction to our investigations of what makes a suitable home for this artist. Her physical choreography and extreme acrobatic dance tests the boundaries of movement, demonstrating her unwillingness to give in to gravity without a fight. Our work with Streb attempts to find architectural cognates using mobile architectural elements, such as seating and gantries and expressive joints, where the forces acting on and reacting to these elements are seen and heard.
The existing warehouse building in the gritty, arts-filled neighborhood of Williamsburg has a skin of brick and concrete block covering a skeletal steel armature, both exposed on the interior. A large warehouse door opens fully, making the lobby an extension of the sidewalk, inviting the interest and participation of the community.
The seating bank ‘flies’ into the air when not in use, and the means of its movement- the hinge, counterweight, and motor- are all made visible. With the bank seat raised, the previously frozen real estate, which every theater has below its seating, is used for the day program, a PopAction School for adults and kids. This dual use addresses the broad ambitions yet limited resources available to the dance company and attempts to define new insight in to the transience/ permanence of architectural elements.
In response to the client’s limited means, we have worked with them to develop a phased plan of implementation, starting with those elements crucial to occupy the building safely, gradually adding elements as funding becomes available. In this way, all present construction is coordinated to anticipate future work.
An exterior sign is made of letters that swing with the wind; the letter-face of the sign shimmers in the wind with reflective dots, reacting to air movements. Gravity, light, air: elements of life, of dance and of architecture.
Phase 1 Master Plan completed: 2002
Phase 2 completed: 2003
JACKSON HEIGHTS, NY
Much has changed in technology since the Lexington School’s inception in the 1960’s. Advancements made in audio visual equipment have dramatically enhanced the arts for the deaf performer and audience. Mitchell Kurtz Architect PC facilitated a complete renovation of The Lexington School for the Deaf’s performing arts stage and auditorium.
We added depth to the stage and added dressing rooms, bathrooms and a green room. New seating, carpeting, stage rigging, draperies and new stage and house lighting add to the comfort and enjoyment of the room. To increase accessibility and a sense of invitation and openness, we equipped the extended stage apron with steps and ramps.
In performance for the deaf, visual cues are of heightened importance, as is low-frequency audio, which can be felt as vibrations. We added subwoofers below the wooden stage, and a variety of visual communication systems: color-coded cue lights, a video intercom system, projected supertitles, and plasma screens distributed throughout the house that may be used for text or images. The video intercom system, an innovative new use of existing technology, is of special note as it allows deaf persons to fully control productions. Wireless infra-red hearing assistance and wire loop systems aid hearing-impaired patrons; an eight-channel system provides specially mixed live audio and multiple channels for simultaneous translation. With its completion, the Lexington School for the Deaf houses one of the most advanced performing spaces for deaf performance.
Cost: $1.2 Million
LITTLE ROCK, AR
An existing landmark mercantile building in downtown Little Rock was selected to serve as the home of the Arkansas Rep. Two theaters were created inside the wood and brick building. The 450-seat main theater is a multi-tiered, horseshoe-shaped theater with a large stage and rigging loft. The 150-seat small theater is used for developmental work. Rehearsal rooms and offices above the theaters, production shops and load-in facilities complete the building program. The new multi-tiered theater echoes the familiar balcony of the church in which the Repertory had its first home.
Major restructuring of the building was needed to remove columns in order to provide the long-span, column-free spaces needed in the theater. Since the local building codes prohibited theaters in buildings of combustible construction, we proposed special safety arrangements that satisfied the regulatory concerns and provided safe and affordable solutions to the construction of the building. All-new exit facilities were added along with sophisticated fire detection, alarm and suppression systems. Specially designed fire-retarding treatments were applied to the wooden structural components to bring fire ratings up to an acceptable level.
Façade restoration was accomplished with ease, as the previous store-owner had covered the “old-fashioned” façade with a screen, mounted in a non-destructive manner. New parking facilities at an adjacent lot joined the theater via a bridge to the second floor. The pedestrian entrance at the street level was linked with a monumental stair to the secondary entry from the garage.
A familiar downtown building was preserved and reused as the new home of the Arkansas Rep, providing an example of successful economic rejuvenation of downtown using the arts as an economic generator of late-hours activity.
Cost: $5 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The Asphalt Green campus, located between York Avenue and FDR Drive north of 90th Street, provides a center for community activities focused on health and fitness. All the buildings on the campus as well as the land itself are owned by the City of New York and managed by Asphalt Green, Inc. pursuant to an agreement with the Parks Department.
Asphalt Green’s Murphy Center has been a significant presence in the New York City urban fabric since 1944, when it began its life as the Municipal Asphalt Plant. Today, the Murphy Center continues to serve a great community need by providing sports and community facilities, and educational programs targeted to toddlers, kids and teens. In January 1976, the Murphy Center was designated a New York City landmark, possessing, “…a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.” Unfortunately, since that designation, time has taken its toll upon the landmark building. Though the exterior shell was repaired in 1998, the interior was in an advanced state of deterioration. Plaster was crumbling off the walls exposing lathe and concrete, water dripped through broken windows, pipes were exposed in dark hallways, and finishes were dingy, harsh and institutional. Heating and ventilation were poor. There was no air-conditioning. In its previous condition, the Murphy Center could barely accommodate Asphalt Green’s traditional programming, let alone the organization’s expanding service mission.
This project significantly renovated the interior of Murphy Center and replaced exterior windows with new, insulated versions of those from 1944. Old space was reconfigured and new spaces and floor area were added, increasing program area. By converting the 3rd floor hallway into a mezzanine on either end, the new design uses natural light to clarify circulation and improve orientation within the building. Color and lighting is used to identify stairwells and program areas. New lighting, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems are supplied throughout. Non-complying areas were brought up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and accessible bathrooms were added on every floor. Deteriorated finishes were replaced and upgraded for compatibility with its younger users. The Murphy Center’s vibrant new feel, full of color and light, renders this neighborhood landmark more enjoyable to the community.
Cost: $6.5 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The Asphalt Green Aqua Center contains an Olympic pool, therapeutic pool and support spaces. A small cardio and fitness studio was expanded in 1998 to two new floors. Two existing floors were substantially reconceived as a single studio space. Alterations included demolition of large corridor and toilet areas that were no longer appropriate for the new program. Spectacular new views were opened up from the studios to the river and the field. A dynamic new stair suggestive of weight-lifting equipment links the two floors. New lighting and flooring were added to the facility, with different treatments at the cardio, weight and strength training areas. Mechanical ventilation was bolstered to improve performance on the exercise floors.
New infrastructure includes power and data wiring for monitoring client’s performance on the equipment. The systems are concealed and flexible, permitting changes to equipment and arrangement.
NEW YORK, NY
The Y’s May Center for Health, Fitness and Sport has undergone the first phase of a five-phase, $10 million improvement of its 35,000 square foot facility. Under-utilized racquetball courts have been transformed into a well-equipped cardio-fitness studio and a yoga classroom. Women’s and girls changing areas have been completely reconfigured, providing separation of girls from adult women for the first time. The women’s area features a lounge, steam and sauna, and rich material finishes such as granite, maple and hand cut tile. A new spa has been added to the center, with quiet lighting and earthy finishes such as wood, cork and fabric. Offices for membership staff have been completely reconfigured and rebuilt.
Complete replacement of the architectural finishes, mechanical and electrical systems has produced an entirely new appearance, replacing the 1928 facility. The fitness center upgrade has resulted in substantial membership gains and improved retention.
A new lobby and café has been added as an attraction for people in the Center and throughout the Y, featuring a commissioned glass artwork.
Future phases include introducing a new circulation spine through the four-story facility, refinishing of gymnasiums and exercise rooms, replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems, new men’s locker facilities and new offices.
Master Plan completed: 2001
Phase 1 completed: 2002
Phase 1 Cost: $1.3 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The 92nd Street Y is a world-renowned cultural institution famous for its performing arts programs, art and education programs, health and fitness facilities and its other civic, artistic and religious programming.
As part of the Y’s summer camp program, new facilities were needed at the camp site in Rockland County, New York. 4,000 square feet of instructional space was added for ceramics, painting and nature/environmental education. The facilities are intended for children, including children with special needs, during the summer. In fall, winter and spring the Y’s older population uses the facilities for their seniors programs.
Located at the edge of a wooded portion of the site, three new buildings comprise the new arts village. Taking cues from the existing simple shed shelters at the campgrounds, the new buildings extend the sheds with shapely dormers that enliven the form and admit filtered daylight. Post-and-beam construction and exposed wood interiors lend the buildings a rustic feel. The buildings have a long-lasting standing-seam metal roof, energy-efficient natural ventilation, and fire detection and security systems to help protect the premises during shut-down periods.
Buildings are situated close amongst the existing trees and the buildings stand above the ground on raised piers, making minimal impact on the site. Gentle grading changes and landscaped paths provide wheelchair accessibility to each building. Recycled stones found on the site are used to make stone walls that define the perimeter of the arts village and offer outdoor seating facing the nearby ball field and pedestrian pathways.
2010 AIA NYS Institutional Award of Merit
Cost: $1.1 Million
The Town asked us to prepare a Master Plan for Parks and Recreation on two sites, Glenclyffe and the Town Philipstown Park. The intent of the Plan was to provide a 30-year vision plan that would be harmonious with the land preservation goals set out for the sites and developed in response to Town recreation needs.
The site was developed with public access and activity in mind. A new entry drive provides dedicated access to the site, passing a turf plateau containing sports and practice fields. Road and parking for 106-cars will be made with pervious pavers to provide infiltration of stormwater.
A vehicular drop-off is provided adjacent to the parking lot. A covered entrance links the drop-off to the building entrance A pedestrian walkway links the Community Center to the fields, kept separate from the vehicular pathways.
The entry plaza was located between existing Community Center building and a newly developed wing containing a theater and dance studios. It provides a pleasant space for adult gathering and supervised child play. Plaza orientation (south) allows for optimal sun exposure for the exterior space and an energy efficient façade design allows for warm light to enter the building during the winter season and blocks direct sunlight to reduce heat gain by using a sun screen on the south facade.
Renovations and additions to the Community Center will increase program services, accommodate new programs, and make the building operate more healthfully, safely, comfortably, and efficiently. Renovations to the fields will improve soils, drainage, and turf. A new comfort station and equipment shed will serve the fields.
The overall design approach aims to provide a well-functioning community center that brings the building up to contemporary standards of building safety and accessibility within a “green” high performance building and site to support the objectives of responsible environmental stewardship and efficient operation. The design of the renovated and expanded Community Center building emerges from the need for a center of community activity that serves as a Town focal point. The proposed Community Center building creates an appealing physical form with light and lift.
The Master Plan for the Town Park site consists of seventeen major work elements which would enhance existing recreational facilities and provide some new features. The general intent is to retain the site’s diverse “active” and “passive” personalities by concentrating sports-based features in the already developed parts of the site while retaining the forests and woodlands in their natural state. Parking is expanded. Fields are arranged for team sports, with adjusted slopes, orientations, irrigation, and appropriate turf. Scenic easements, wetlands, and other land use restrictions are respected.
A centrally located Pavilion structure is proposed within the Park’s cleared area. The Pavilion is arranged in a linear form with a narrow footprint to limit its impact on the surrounding landscape. With open, sheltered spaces and a form that inflects the natural landscape, it provides good views to the improved fields and new play areas and provides a relaxing area away from the activity fields. Services include a food concession, administration, nurse’s station, equipment storage, toilets, and utilities.
Cost: $22 Million
Hartford Stage was designed by Robert Venturi, a Pritzker laureate, who created a “decorated shed” to contain a 500-seat thrust theater, offices, and workshops. The building is an opaque box that’s partly embedded in a surrounding parking garage and partly free-standing, with a corner cut out to form a recessed entrance. It is skinned in a thin layer of brick veneer that camouflages what’s inside. The skin uses brick masonry units that are repetitively arranged to form a large-scale stepped decorative pattern to articulate and enrich the simple building enclosure that conceals a theatrical landscape that’s always changing.
Hartford Stage wanted to open up the building and make it more inviting. The glass filled addition appears “open” rather than “closed” in striking contrast to the existing building. The interior is light filled and the theater’s illuminated outside wall can be seen from the street. Transparency is used as a metaphor for inviting the community into the building and providing access to the arts in support of Hartford Stage’s mission. Moving lights within the signs and the movement of people seen inside the building provide an “active” rather than “static” picture that reflects a dynamic theater scene and is a moving metaphor for the lively theater art and bustling social scene at Hartford Stage.
The addition consists of a large glass “brick” partly inserted into the box, partly freestanding. On the outside, a zinc metal band traces the edge where the old and new meet and the edge of the glass addition. The band is topped with a vertical blade sign with illuminated fixed and electronic changeable graphics trumpeting institutional identity and providing performance information at the city-scale; the bottom of the band finishes off at a pedestrian scale with an exterior bench, showcases, and a recessed entry recalling the building’s original entrance. On the inside, at the juncture of the old and new, a glassy circulation core connects two lobby levels. The core consists of a red terrazzo monumental stair and a glass-enclosed elevator rising up towards a vaulted skylight.
Larger lobbies, new bars and café service, vastly expanded public restrooms, new auditorium seating, and accessibility to the seating area, stage, and front-of-house facilities offer an inviting level of audience comfort. The theater is located behind a curved wall that separates the lobbies from the house. The wall is lined with a thin layer of repeating, rectangular, backlit glass panels that reflect the incandescence of the dramatic space just beyond. No matter where you are in the lobby, you will know where the theater is located because of the curve and the lighted glass. The box office and audience services booth have open counters carved out of the wall, outlined by a metal band where it meets the wall. Entrance vestibules to the theater are a “brick” partly inserted into the wall, partly freestanding, painted in Chinese red lacquer.
The auditorium has been redesigned to improve sightlines and acoustics for the thrust stage and to facilitate the conversion of the original thrust stage to a proscenium arrangement when needed. This provides increased audience capacity and additional staging and production possibilities. The trapped area of the stage and the trap room below the stage are expanded to further enhance production capabilities. New stage lighting, audio, and video systems provide the latest technology and enhanced production capabilities in the theater, the lobbies, and in the new Community Room. Infrastructure upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems increase capacity, comfort, efficiency, and safety.
The theater interior is lined with a thin layer of warm looking finished rectangular panels of perforated wood, steel, and cast gypsum to provide needed sound reflective and absorptive surfaces. These panels step down towards the stage to enhance the room’s visual focus towards the stage, revealing their kinship to the stepped patterns of the original brick veneer. Wood handrails, new seating, carpeted aisles, and decorative guardrails bring more inviting soft touches to the theater as a welcome complement to the concrete floors, steel railings, and catwalks.
Phase 1 completed: 2010
Phase 2 completed: 2011
Master Plan cost: $21 Million
Phase 1 cost: $4 Million
Phase 2 cost: $8 Million
NEW YORK, NY
ART/NY is a membership organization that serves New York City’s non-commercial theater and performance institutions and artists. It provides many services, including offering low-cost rehearsal and office space to members. With this project, ART/NY will provide much needed affordable, fully-equipped performance spaces and rehearsal facilities.
Two theaters and two rehearsal halls will be built within a portion of a mixed-use residential and commercial building that has been set aside for cultural facilities by the City’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Housing and Development. Two other non-profit users are occupying nearby space set-aside for cultural uses. Each of the three groups will have separate entrances but share a common load-in, have overlapping exits and fire protection systems, and share a heating and cooling plant which has been cooperatively designed and funded by the three groups.
A narrow street-level entrance connects to ART/NY’s Fixed Theater and rehearsal rooms on the 2nd floor and its Flexible Theater on the 3rd floor. A stair winds upward to connect lobbies at each floor. The steel stair cantilevers out from an existing concrete wall, seemingly suspended. Existing concrete walls are left exposed. New ductwork and lighting are exposed and supported by rhythmically placed metal frames that form a transparent ceiling plane in the public spaces. New materials are distinctly different than the existing. Existing concrete – thick, heavy and rough – contrasts with thinner, lighter, smoother steel, wood, and ceramic materials. Existing opaque elements are juxtaposed against new lacy, transparent, and perforated elements. Flat, dull finishes are placed against new materials that glint and reflect light. Leaving unnecessary finishes off of walls and ceilings provides a stripped-down look that is desired and reduces the amount of material resources needed for this project, helping in its aim to achieve LEED Silver status.
Simple exposed materials and detailing express the straightforward efficiency of the design and the “keep it simple and affordable” approach taken by ART/NY. Simple steel structural tees and angles are used at a small scale in guardrails and railings and used at a bigger scale in the seat bank and ceiling of the Fixed Theater and in the walls and ceiling of the Flexible Theater. Wire rope guardrails are like those seen in maritime settings, recalling the theater’s connection to seafarers who brought their rigging skills to the stage and reminding us of the wharves that line the waterfront that are a prominent part of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
The second floor contains the box office for both theaters. The main restrooms are located on the 2nd floor; additional restrooms are located on the 3rd floor. Administrative offices and a workshop are on the 2nd floor along with the two rehearsal studios, one of which is fitted-out to host meetings and parties.
The Fixed Theater seats 99, arranged with an end-stage equipped with a resilient floor and overhead rigging. A continuous steel T-beam rests on the floor to support the seat bank, slopes up to support the seating platforms, and sinuously continues up to the ceiling to support the mezzanine and turns again to become rigging beams over the house and the stage. Walls are lined with perforated wood panels that provide needed acoustical reflections and absorption. The ceiling is heavily constructed to keep out noise from another theater just above; it is also provided with large rigging beams and a system of smaller metal channels to allow easy equipment and scenery connections. Walls are provided with steel pipes and recessed metal connection plates to allow easy connection to the walls without marring finishes. Existing windows in the stage area are preserved to allow daylight in; customized acoustical shutters can hinge closed to seal noise and light from entering the theater. This fixed seat theater is a highly workable yet finished looking space that counterpoints with the flexible performance space upstairs with more pronounced technical features and a more skeletal appearance.
The Flexible Theater has a flat floor with entrances for audiences in two corners and actor entrances in three of the corners. A system of manually arranged platforms are used to reconfigure the room into different stage-seating configurations, including end stage, traverse, arena, and thrust. A system of perforated steel columns and beams on walls and ceilings provide easy and durable structural connection points for securing light pipes, equipment and scenery. The ceiling also has a pipe-grid system and a system of metal channels used for scenery, lighting, and equipment connections. A system of widely spaced terra cotta panels provides needed reflections and absorption. Flexible sound, audio, video, lighting, and scenic arrangements allow the room to be used for various performance activities.
Cost: $12 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The West Side YMCA occupies a stately brick building on West 63rd Street. Inside, the Little Theater had fallen into disrepair from its once rich appearance. The project rehabilitates the theater with contextual design elements while improving overall functionality with modern accessibility, amenities and a technological upgrade for use as a performance theater for drama and dance, music performance, readings, conferences, and film screenings.
The theater and several adjacent support spaces have been organized as a self-contained unit that can be accessed from the Y’s main entrance or through a separate entrance. This arrangement is seamlessly integrated with the Y, or it can stand alone as a rental facility with a separate accessible entrance, independent lobby, and box office. Adjacent rooms serve as lobby or as divisible multi-purpose rooms. New public toilets have been provided.
The theater has permanent tiered seating in curved rows for 141 patrons. Sightlines to the stage are optimized by staggering seats of different dimension. A sound-proof control room is provided at the back-of-house for stage management, lighting, and projection controls. Seating is spacious and comfortable and wheelchair viewing positions are provided.
The stage renovation includes a performance quality stage floor, motorized rigging, and code-compliant accessibility improvements. New stage lighting and stage sound systems are installed to bring up-to-date technology to the Y. Theater-quality video projection systems and screen have been installed.
The ceiling restoration provided an opportunity to place front-of-house lighting and sound positions and address acoustical problems associated with the domed shape. A new sprinkler system and house lighting system is concealed behind the ceiling. New quiet and efficient heating and cooling systems have been installed.
New wood, upholstery fabrics, and architectural detailing in the theater create a warm palette that blends with finishes and appointments elsewhere in the building. Lacy metal-work railings articulate the gentle curve of the seat bank and allow views of seating and stage from the entry. Dark wood wainscoting, doors, and trims surround the periphery while light woods and fabrics brighten the seat bank. A custom made ceiling chandelier of steel and mica develop the Moorish vocabulary found in the building. The seat bank guardrail is topped with a wood rail cap that ends with a scrolled lambs tongue punctuated with a blown amber glass ornament. These craft details bring human scale elements and hand-made quality to the space.
Cost: $1.8 Million
NEW YORK, NY
“Stifters Dinge” is a performance piece, equal parts a musical and theatrical performance piece, an art installation and environmental space. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts “New Visions” series presented this piece at the Park Avenue Armory, an historic building that includes a vast shed with a vaulted trussed roof now used as a dynamic alternative arts space.
German composer Heiner Goebbels composed and directed the work and first presented it at the Theatre Vidy-Lausanne in Switzerland. It is a composition for five pianos with no performers, a play with no actors, a live performance without performers.
The setting consists of three movable walls of pianos and other props. There are three pools of water and four retractable projection screens that are used as video projection surfaces for reflected and overlapping visual effects. The pianos are played through computerized player-piano mechanisms and by robotic arms that play glissandos and pluck strings. Other sounds are produced live and electronically processed; they are created by pushing air through pipes, scraping stones, moving sheets of metal, and moving air. A few vocal tracks are pre-recorded. Stage fog is used to give visual form to lighting effects and add an air of mystery.
The scenery, musical instruments, sound producing devices, pools, water storage tanks, video projectors, screens, speakers, and lighting are gathered into a tightly grouped visual ensemble organized on a rectangular plan. The inner workings of the musical and scenic control devices, and the projectors, speakers, props and sound makers are exposed to view comprising a richly detailed and changing visual and sonic tableau.
Our assignment was to create a temporary theater for this piece and its audience inside the Armory’s shed. The setting is tiny, 18 feet wide by 52 feet long with a top trim of 20 feet. The shed is vast, 192 feet wide by 288 feet long with the high point of the roof 98 feet above the floor. Audience seating needed to be no wider than the set and no higher than 10 feet above the floor in order for viewers to experience the intended visual effects.
Our approach was to make a performance space within the Armory shed containing the seating and stage that would mediate between the small scale setting and the much larger shed floor and vaulted ceiling. An intimate theater space was created using a rectangular framework of simple, unadorned truss elements through which the shed could be seen. That framework was 51 feet wide by 124 feet long by 30 feet high. A scenery grid was suspended at 20 feet above the deck hanging below a 30 foot high truss structure with column towers rising to 34 feet, the stepped tower effect a visual reference to the Armory’s exterior silhouette of crenellated fortress construction.
Once inside the Armory’s shed, the audience approached the mysterious metal structure oozing fog and glowing with light. A monumental staircase, 40 feet long with four flights of elegantly proportioned steppings, led to the high point of the seating bank shrouded in flat drapery panels. Once inside the seat bank, audiences had a panoramic view of the stage setting and of the shed surrounding the theater. Seating platforms were arranged with extended legroom and extra-wide chairs for comfort. Aisle lighting and exit lighting delineated steps and egress paths while maintaining low-level illumination in keeping with the show’s requirements. Up lights gently washed the shed’s trussed roof.
At the end of the performance, audiences were invited onstage to look closely at the setting, the instruments, and the stage effects. Being very close to the intricately orchestrated but simple production elements comprising this music/theater/art piece evokes fascination about the technical execution and realization of the power of the artist’s imagination to create an engaging meditative piece that is as rich in timeless meaning as it is specific in its detailed experience of sound, image, rhythm, time and space.
NEW YORK, NY
A multi-media conception of Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE was created by Esa-Pekka Salonen, musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Sellars, stage director, and Bill Viola, video artist and performed with the Lost Angeles Philharmonic.
The Avery Fisher Hall stage was extended to accommodate the large orchestra and the singers; the chorus was in the top balcony, and soloists occasionally sang from the balconies as well. A projection screen 19 feet tall and 32 feet wide was suspended over the orchestra for Mr. Viola’s high-definition video, and additional overhead screens and monitors carried the English supertitles.
Mr. Viola said: "The images tell the inner story in a similar way the music tells the inner story of the emotional and, I would say, spiritual life of these people."
We designed the screen support to be nearly invisible, so the screen hovered over the stage. It played in portrait mode and in landscape mode, changing a vista, in full view of the audience, with a slow, larghetto movement. The change was made with no apparent motive force and no stagehands visible.
Two small penetrations were made in the concert hall ceiling for support points, minimizing the loss of the acoustically reflective ceiling, and new structural supports were established in the attic above the ceiling. The design and implementation was coordinated with the Hall’s acoustical consultants, engineering consultants, and technical crew.
Two high powered projectors were aligned pixel-to-pixel and placed in the house, enclosed to minimize the noise from the projectors, and provided with cooling to prevent overheating the enclosed projectors. Two projectors were used to brighten the image and to provide redundancy in case of catastrophic failure of one projector. The time clock on the images could be varied, controlled by a video operator, to keep pace with the particular timing of the live operatic performance.
NEW YORK, NY
The work was presented as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival, utilizing the façade of the David H. Koch Theater as a media canvas, transforming the plaza into an outdoor museum and the building into a work of video art.
The bright images enlivened the nighttime architecture with its ever changing, emotionally charged tableaus of enormous intimacy and visual detail, peering into highly personal scenes projected on a vast screen in a public plaza. Using ultra-high speed, high definition cameras, the videos are presented in extreme-slow-motion video on to a screen mounted to the façade of the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center Plaza.
David Michaelk, the artist, recorded several well-known theater and film performers in a scene. Then he slows the frames to display each emotion in larger-than-life detail as it is projected onto a screen that’s 85 feet wide and 45 feet high. “Portraits” represents Broadway, avant garde theater and Chinese opera, as well as several other theatrical genres, enhanced with costumes, production design, makeup and lighting.
The specially welded screen material was lashed to a frame which was mounted to the tall, skinny columns that frame the theater’s colonnade. The screen acts like a sail as it catches the wind, applying significant horizontal forces on to the columns for which they were not designed. The structural engineer evaluated the loads and determined the maximum wind velocity for the screen and the maximum force conditions for the columns.
A written operational plan was developed describing the wind circumstances that would require demounting of the screen. The plan for striking the screen during an excess wind event was rehearsed. An anemometer was mounted on top of the building and wind speed reports and forecasts were directed to the Festival production manager for monitoring and determining when the screen required demounting. (There was no excess wind event during the weeks when the screen was in place).
Working with McLaren Engineering, we designed a method of securing the screen to the building without penetrating or damaging the delicate travertine column enclosures. The design team’s work included the design of the frame and mounting, design evaluation for the protection of the building structure and finish, and obtaining regulatory approvals for the transient art installation.
NEW YORK, NY
After decades of renting the upper story of a two-story industrial building in Chelsea, DTW purchased the building with plans for expanding programs and services. A phased master plan was developed to create a new 200-seat theater and backstage support spaces, a new lobby and full-time café, new administrative and artist service areas and new rehearsal studios and related support spaces. The new theater would be carved out of the ground while the new studios and offices would be built as new floors above the existing building. The master plan consolidated DTW’s several sites, bringing all of its producing and presenting activities under one roof.
Different sequences for development were studied, as funds for the above-grade studios and offices would be available before the below-grade theater could be constructed. The project was designed so that when construction of the above-grade spaces was launched, below-grade infrastructure, elevator and stairs would already be in place, allowing uninterrupted occupancy of the first floor by commercial tenants until DTW needed the first floor space.
The theater is designed especially for dance, with steeply raked seating facing an end stage with particularly good sightlines to the floor. Enhanced production capabilities include fly space over the stage, new stage lighting and new sound equipment. Heating, cooling and ventilating is tailored for dance in the design of the air and system controls. The sprung floor provides the resilience needed for dance and the strength needed for stage scenery; radiant heat, provided below the floor, gives dancers a warm working surface.
New distinctive exterior banners and lighting were designed to give DTW a dynamic presence on 19th Street. Façade and roof restoration were undertaken for building stabilization.
Cost: $8 Million
NEW YORK, NY
The 1889 Battery Maritime Building stands at the southern tip of Manhattan, an under-utilized ferry terminal with vast public spaces. DTW and Creative Time, both producers and presenters of contemporary performance art, won a competition to utilize the second floor of the ferry terminal while portions of the building would remain in use as ferry slips for commuter ferries and the Coast Guard.
The program included three performance spaces, four rehearsal studios, offices for both institutions and vast public spaces to be developed as galleries and cafés. Designs were created and models and drawings produced to gain approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Transportation and other agencies.
The ferry terminal would undergo restoration and renewal of its above-ground appearance and structures and its below-water supporting construction. The theater’s interior development would provide contemporary counterpoint to the cast-iron and glass construction. New mezzanine spaces would be created, views to the Bay would be opened up and light from the main skylight would be restored after having been blacked out in the 40’s.
Funds for the program, to be derived from the sale of City development rights over the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, were unavailable after the collapse of the real estate market in the early 1990’s.
Cost: $7.8 Million
The Pregones Theatre Company began producing theater in New York City and throughout the region in 1978. The company has had its permanent home in the Bronx since 1982, variously in the Longwood Arts Project in former P.S. 39, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in the South Bronx, and Pregones Studio on the Grand Concourse. In that time, it has mounted touring productions that have traveled throughout the world, and become a leading voice of Puerto Rican / Latino theater in the country. In tandem with its theatrical production, it has become a complex and highly successful arts organization with training, outreach and partnership programs that link it to its neighborhood and to a variety of communities.
To accommodate its expanded mission, the company is in the process of making a permanent home in a former residential building, just off of the Grand Concourse, where Pregones currently has offices and a performance space. A phased plan was created for the renovation of the neighboring building, formerly a warehouse. The phased plan allows the expansion of the facility in step with the company’s expanding resources and program.
In the first phase of the project, the building will be renovated to provide a 122-seat professional performance space, technical theater training center, and gallery.
In the second phase of the project, a more extensive renovation of the building will add two stories to the building to create a 179-seat theater, and add expanded workshops, technical support and training spaces, additional office space for the company, and new rehearsal / studio space.
NEW YORK, NY
Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary is being celebrated by a campus-wide redevelopment project including the renovation and expansion of the Guggenheim Bandshell at Damrosch Park. The renovation will energize the Bandshell with contemporary additions that respect its existing form and material, extends the facility’s performance potential, and removes existing problems. The strategy to update the Bandshell centers on adding contrasting new forms and materials whose geometries spring from those inherent in the Bandshell and whose function is wedded to the program requirements. Additions are transparent, so the solidly built Bandshell clearly dominates the scene.
The existing Bandshell is situated in a plaza where the audience sits, separated from the seating by fixed above-ground planters. The stage is too small and visually remote; sightlines to the stage are poor. The stage lacks technical infrastructure for entrances, lighting, scenery, and sound. Dressing rooms are inadequate and lack amenity. Finishes are deteriorated and systems are out of date. Concrete structure is sound but deteriorated.
The renovation will enlarge the stage and offstage areas. A square performance stage is placed on a circular stage platter. “Sacred geometries” are used to generate the new stage plan and lock in new elements by aligning with geometries hidden within the existing composition. The platter is formed by fitting a circular form into the nearly circular plan of the existing shell and overlapping another circle so that the center of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. A square is fitted around the downstage circle to form the performance platform. The circle imparts stability and completeness, offering a stable platform for the transitory performance art. The circle also provides a visual link to the iconic circular fountain at Lincoln Center’s main plaza.
A circular truss canopy is suspended from the towers over the stage to provide support for horizontal trusses carrying lighting and scenery. The canopy is delicately supported by cable stays that pass by the historic Bandshell. The canopy can be covered with a protective membrane to keep water from the stage.
Raised planters now separating the audience from the stage will be removed and the new stage will extend forward with forestage steps spilling out to the audience. The performance area is deeper and wider and offstage space is provided in the wings. The stage is accessible, as are dressing rooms and public bathrooms. Sightlines are improved by raising the stage 18 inches. Interior floor levels in the dressing rooms are adjusted to align with the new stage level. Troublesome defects of Bandshell and stage, such as acoustical focus effects, water leaks, and structural problems, will be eliminated with the application of weather resistant absorptive finishes, concrete repair and coating, and cathodic protection for reinforcing steel. Dressing rooms are provided with upgraded finishes and toilets and new public bathrooms are provided.
Tower structures straddle the stage and extend alongside the audience area. The towers reinforce the edge of the plaza, and heighten the scale of the Bandshell and strengthen visual links between the plaza and stage. Stage towers support stage lighting, house lighting, and speakers. Towers alongside the audience support lighting and a web of cables forming a light-handed sense of enclosure. Permanent towers and guy cable anchors will concentrate loads on to existing structures, making efficient use of the existing structures and avoiding substantial structural alterations. Equipment is seasonally demounted.
An acoustic enhancement system will distribute sound over the entire plaza, mimicking interior room acoustics with lingering and enveloping sounds, reflections and reverberation created using digital processing techniques.
A spectacular lighting presentation will activate the Bandshell as an art-presentation surface. A pixilated LED video system will be used to light the shell and provide large scale images that can project the live performance, support it with supplementary images, or provide large scale video work at non-performance times.
Cost: $9.46 Million