A performing arts center is one of the most challenging and rewarding buildings an architect can design. It is a landmark building, celebrating its community’s commitment to the arts and culture, and requires an architectural expression that is memorable and unique. At the same time, it is a highly technical building, weaving together the functional requirements of multiple theatres, front and back of house areas, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, lobbies, dining spaces, loading docks, and parking facilities. It demands the highest level of leadership from a design team, who must balance expression and function. It is a collaboration with a large group of stakeholders: artists, directors, institutions, and donors, all dedicated to the success of the project, but often with differing visions of how best to achieve it. There are few moments in an architect’s career that are as rewarding as when the curtain rises on opening night and the crowd cheers.
These buildings must be high-performance machines, tuned to the needs of different performers, from solo artists to the massive orchestra and chorus required for an opera or symphony. They must also perform for their users—the audiences and production companies—allowing them to arrive, stay, and depart with ease and efficiency. All of this is achieved, in part, through the spaces and volumes of the architecture.
Mitchell A. Hirsch AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Joseph W.A. Myers, President and Principal Consultant, Kirkegaard Associates
Scott Crossfield, Design Principal, Theatre Projects
Ted Whitten, Architect and writer
AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee