From the architect. We just received this project from Wasa/Studio A, who worked on the Jerome Robbins Theater, a new state-of-the-art performance venue for the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), a non-profit performing arts group based in New York City and headed by renowned choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov.
The theater design involved a complete retrofitting of an existing theater within an arts complex located in Manhattan’s West side. The client’s goal was to create a high-tech performance space flexible enough in its design to accommodate dance, drama and musical events.
This project was designed in close collaboration with the global consulting firm ARUP, whose Performing Arts Group is responsible for the design of theatrical lighting and acoustical systems. ARUP also assisted us in the design of the orchestra and balcony seating, the control booth design and sightline analysis. Inserted into this existing blank box is a new “floating” mezzanine, to bring the total capacity of this theater to 299 seats.
Our goal in designing the Jerome Robbins Theater was to create a space that heightened the theatrical experience by enhancing the connection between audience and performer. The experience of the space is intended as an overture to the theatrical productions, and one that creates an expectation of quality, resourcefulness and creativity.
In terms of color and materiality, we chose a limited palette of five materials and two paint colors. The raw Cor-Ten steel railings echo the rough concrete of the box, while the refined wood, acrylic panels and carpet create an appropriate contrast. Together, the rough and the smooth, the raw and the defined create a dialog analogous to the theatrical experience.