Canadian Architect


Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects selected to renovate Lincoln Centre concert hall

December 14, 2015
by Canadian Architect

David Geffen Hall, formerly known as Avery Fisher Hall, will be renovated by Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects. (Photo: D. Ramey Logan)

David Geffen Hall, formerly known as Avery Fisher Hall, will be renovated by Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects. (Photo: D. Ramey Logan)

Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects have been selected as the architecture team that will lead the renovation and re-imagination of David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center’s largest concert hall, it was announced today by Katherine Farley, chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Oscar S. Schafer, chairman of the New York Philharmonic. This first-ever collaboration brings together two world-class, award-winning firms–collectively, they bring extensive experience designing innovative public spaces and specialized expertise in the design and execution of world-renowned performing arts halls.

In addition to its primary purpose as the home for the New York Philharmonic, the new David Geffen Hall will be designed to facilitate a broader, ongoing array of community activities and events. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 at a preliminary estimated cost of $500 million.

Following a rigorous, two-year competition involving many of the world’s leading architecture and design firms, a committee comprised of representatives from both Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic  evaluated more than 100 firms before selecting the team of Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects.

“The inspiring combination of Heatherwick and Diamond Schmitt will bring contemporary design excellence, respect for the historic architecture of the hall, and extensive experience creating acoustically superb performance halls,” said Farley.

“We believe this pairing of Heatherwick and Diamond Schmitt offers the most compelling potential for the New York Philharmonic’s new home that will reflect the excellence and artistry of this Orchestra, as well as further enhance and support the Philharmonic’s evolution as a 21st-century institution,” said Schafer.

In addition to creating a 21st-century concert hall with world-class acoustics, Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects will be charged with re-imagining the auditorium and ultimately creating a place where the architecture is at one with music. Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic, including leadership, key staff and performers, will work closely with the entire project team – Diamond Schmitt, Heatherwick, acoustic design firm Akustiks and theater design firm Fisher Dachs – over the coming months to develop and finalize the design. When complete, the new hall will also be the permanent home of Legends at Lincoln Center: the Performing Arts Hall of Fame, which will honor and celebrate the performing arts and film represented at Lincoln Center every day.

“Diamond Schmitt Architects and Heatherwick Studio have demonstrated a keen understanding of the opportunities and challenges of imagining a music hall for the 21st-century, including evolving audience expectations,” said Jed Bernstein, president of Lincoln Center. “Together, Lincoln Center, the Philharmonic and our partners share a vision for a hall with a more expansive role as a cultural and educational center for New Yorkers and visitors alike. That exciting vision is now one big step closer to realization.”

“We look forward to working closely with Diamond Schmitt Architects and Heatherwick Studio to design not only a dynamic, new concert hall for this great Orchestra, but also an aspirational new home that will find innovative ways to engage New Yorkers and the broader community,” said Matthew VanBesien, president of the New York Philharmonic.

Thomas Heatherwick, founder and principal of Heatherwick Studio, said: “The New York Philharmonic creates some of the most incredible music in the world, so it deserves a world-class concert hall. Together with Diamond Schmitt Architects, we are excited to make this special institution and its classical music even more connected to New Yorkers and the audiences of the future.”

“We are thrilled to win this opportunity along with our collaborator, Heatherwick Studio, to reimagine the space for music performance for the 21st-century,” said Donald Schmitt, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “We will design the new Geffen Hall to become a crossroads of performance, rehearsal, learning and arts innovation, creating a welcoming atmosphere for the public.”

The concert hall, originally designed by Max Abramovitz, was the first building to open on the Lincoln Center campus. First known as Philharmonic Hall, it has been home to storied performances by the New York Philharmonic, as well as other renowned orchestras and soloists, for more than five decades. The symphonic concert hall was renamed in September, 2015 to honour music and media executive and philanthropist David Geffen, whose generous $100 million gift will allow Lincoln Center to move forward with the creation of the dynamic, new hall.

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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