September 20, 2008
by Canadian Architect
Toronto-based design firm Diamond and Schmitt Architects has won its third award from BusinessWeek and Architectural Record magazines’ annual “Good Design is Good Business” international competition for its design of Sidney Harman Hall, the new home of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. This competition, now in its 11th year, recognizes innovative architecture that utilizes design excellence to help clients achieve strategic goals and objectives. Diamond and Schmitt Architects have previously won this award for the design of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2004) and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (2007).
Sidney Harman Hall is one of only six projects honoured from a competitive pool of 90 projects from around the world. The architectural team, lead by Jack Diamond, Gary McCluskie and Jennifer Mallard will be honoured at a dinner that will be held in New York City on October 7th.
“The jury considered each project’s impact not only on its immediate client but also on the wider community it serves, and looked for such measurable successes as high building occupancy, increased productivity, and invigorated corporate identity,” commented Helen Walters, innovation and design editor for BusinessWeek.com.
Sydney Harman Hall captures the new direction, new image and innovation that audiences associate with the Shakespeare Theatre Company. The Hall, opened in October 2007, has expanded the vision of the organization in extraordinary ways, broadening and deepening a commitment to classical theatre while at the same time embracing all of the performing arts. The facility hosts performances in drama, music, and dance including the extraordinary work of international performers whose repertoires demand sophisticated and intimate spaces that Washington, until now, was unable to offer.
The company has utilized the theatre’s design excellence to its advantage, increasing the number of yearly productions and attracting a higher calibre of performer to the facility. The organization has expanded its market share and redefined the type of entertainment provided, utilizing the versatility of the theatre’s transformable stage, which has the structural and acoustical flexibility to give contemporary expression not only to classical theatre but also to the very best in dance, music and the spoken word.
Recent performing arts projects by Diamond and Schmitt Architects include Sidney Harman Hall, home of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC; the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; the Max M. Fisher Center for the Arts in Detroit; and the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. These award-winning projects have received international acclaim and demonstrate the firm’s particular ability to combine high design with high performance. The firm is currently working on new theatres in Richmond Hill and Burlington, Ontario and was recently commissioned to redesign Boettcher Hall in Denver.