Theaters

Century Center, South Bend, Indiana

Located on the banks of the Saint Joseph River, this project was designed to house cultural and civic functions for the Century Center Authority of the city of South Bend.

The 250,000 square foot development is comprised of five distinct brick buildings grouped around a large central courtyard and linked by glass-roofed pedestrian streets, a promenade along the Saint Joseph River, and an island park. Incorporated within the complex are a convention center, private meeting rooms, banquet and catering facilities, art center with workshops, art gallery, and a six hundred seat theater. The firm was commissioned again in 1995 to further develop the master plan and design additions to the center that included a new art museum, new meeting rooms and a concourse entry from the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame.

Client: The City of South Bend, Indiana
First Completion Date: 1979
Second Completion Date: 1995

 

Harvard

Harvard Burden Hall

 

The School of Business Administration, at Harvard University, commissioned a one thousand seat auditorium that is large enough to seat the entire student body, while also providing a suitable means for subdivision into smaller spaces for classes and lectures. The design was worked by using a flattened form of the typical pie-shape plan, which essentially then became a fan – a theater in the half round – with never more than fifteen rows of seating. The hall, which remains the largest on the Harvard Campus, can be left whole or divided in thirds with movable soundproof partitions. While a measure of intimacy is gained on the inside, there remained the problem of treating the bulk on the outside. As windows were not welcome, the design of the exterior drove the greater part of the building underground and rendered what remained above in Harvard brick. The walls are casually bent, in and out, around the various interior functions forming twenty-two sides in all.

Project Architects                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Philip Johnson, FAIA, project designer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John Manely, project architect                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Project Date: 1972                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Client                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Harvard University                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

 

New Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Playhouse, one of the oldest repertory theaters in the country, had outgrown its theatre complex housed in a former church building. When it became possible to buy an abandoned Sears Robuck & Co. building adjacent to the old church, the organization made its renovation part of a major expansion. The program included a new 644-seat theater, a black box multipurpose studio, and a new lobby. The 200,000 square feet former department store space was renovated as a backstage facility with a set-building shop, truck dock, storage and dressing rooms, and includes a private club and revenue producing rental space. The club is connected to the theater lobbies by a long formal promenade.

The new structures maintain the irregular massing of the original but are both grander and more eclectic, with references to Medieval castles, Regency country houses, and the neoclassical style. Each lobby is geometrically distinct and each floor has a different terrazzo pattern.

A large rotunda pulls together the entire complex and provides a central entrance and vestibule. The form is inspired by Bernini’s Santa Maria dell’Assunzione in Arricia, itself a reworking of the Pantheon in Rome. The plan of the interior is inspired by the fourth-century mausoleum of Santa Costanza in Rome.

Client: New Cleveland Playhouse
Completion Date: 1985
Area: 230,000 square feet (renovation), 80,000 square feet (new)
Associate Architects: Collins & Reimer

 

 

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Pennsylvania Academy of music

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Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, New York

This project involved the firm in a major urban renewal venture for the downtown area of Niagara Falls, and includes a hotel, offices, a shopping center, winter garden, parking garages and a museum. The design needed to be one that would create a strong visual feature as an icon for urban Niagara Falls.

The axis of the project is a 1,500 foot-long tree-lined pedestrian mall. At the Niagara River end of the mall is a riverside park and the most dramatic view of the waterfall. At the other end of the mall is the convention center, a metaphorical triumphal arch, or Pantheon. Viewed from down the mall the building is a vast glass quarter-moon anchored by stone plinths at either end. The 100,000 square foot exhibition hall pays homage to the grandeur of old railroad stations and the technological sophistication of modern aircraft hangers.

Client: City of Niagara Falls
Completion Date: 1974
Area: 230,000 sq. ft.

 

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New York State Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, New York

The New York State Theater was originally designed as a theater for dance, a home for the New York City Ballet. Today it also houses the New York City Opera. Johnson, who began the design in 1959, wanted to provide an elegant auditorium based on the 18th-century European model of small opera houses. In doing so, Johnson designed extraordinary public spaces as well as a sumptuous auditorium.

The problem of scale and organization of a theatre of over 2,000 seats was solved by presenting a simple means of entry and circulation for the public. There is a procession of monumental rooms, which may explain why The New York State Theatre is so often booked for special events. The theatre is festive and glamorous.

Presently, there is an ongoing plan of varied restorations throughout the structure. This includes design upgrades for code variances such as the replacement of the existing bronze handrails, the installation of new center rails and reworking of the particular marble junctions at the stairs. In addition, the renovation of the existing restrooms is presently under construction.

Client: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Completion Date: 1967
Area: 295,000 sq. ft.

 

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Sandler Center For Preforming Arts, Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Virginia Beach Performing Arts Center is a collaborative design-build effort currently under construction at 201 Market Street in Virginia Beach. The entire building is integrated into the urban town center and once complete will become a focal point and landmark in the community.

The arts center is intended to invite a diverse spectrum of performance types. Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects was hired to design the multi-purpose main recital hall as well as the grand foyer. Patrons experience a resonance throughout these areas created by the use of a rich material palette of wood, stone and finely worked metal fabric. Primary emphasis in the auditorium is placed on dynamic angled overlapping vertical and horizontal wood members that advance across the side walls, giving the hall a sense of animated depth. An additional notable element in the auditorium is the wire mesh clad proscenium which can be adjusted to accommodate many different types of artistic performances.