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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Performing Arts Center
  4. United States
  5. Safdie Architects
  6. 2011
  7. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects

  • 01:00 - 18 July, 2011
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects, © Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

© Tim Hursley © Tim Hursley © Tim Hursley © Tim Hursley +30

  • Acoustics

    Nagata Acoustics
  • Theatre Design

    Theatre Projects Consultants
  • Structural Engineer

    Arup USA, Inc.
  • Local Structural Engineer

    Structural Engineering Associates, Inc.
  • MEP/Fire Protection Engineers

    Arup USA, Inc.
  • Local MEP Engineers

    WL Cassell & Associates, Inc.
  • Project Manager

    Land Capital Corporation
  • General Contractor

    J.E. Dunn Construction
  • Civil Engineer

    Taliaferro and Browne, Inc.
  • Security

    M-E Engineers, Inc.
  • Landscape Architect

    Reed Hilderbrand Associates, Inc.
  • Sound

    Engineering Harmonics, Inc.
  • Lighting

    Lam Partners, Inc.
  • More SpecsLess Specs
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects, © Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

From the architect. The opportunity to design a major new performing arts center was precipitated by two significant decisions: the selection of an extraordinary site crowning the escarpment overlooking the historic warehouse district and the new entertainment district, affording a 180° view of the horizon; and the decision to construct two dedicated halls for symphony, ballet, opera, and theater.

Downtown Kansas City, set upon a plateau, extends southwards towards an escarpment from where it descends, opening to an expansive view, which is further accentuated by the flat prairie landscape. To the north, one sees the drama of the downtown skyline with its grid of streets framing the property and the Kansas City Convention Center.

Floor Plan
Floor Plan

Glazing Diagram Helzberg Hall Model Kauffman Theatre Perspective Section Sketch +30

I am a believer that the site of a project always holds the secret for its design concept. Walking around, I was compelled by the dramatic view to the south. Thus, I placed the two performance halls to face south, integrated and connected by a single great lobby—an expansive glazed porch contained by a glass tent-like structure. The drop in the land towards the south allowed us to include a new road that serves as the drop-off point and leads to a large underground parking garage on top of which sits a park. From the garage and the drop-off levels, the public ascends the grand stair to the great hall, with public gathering areas and the individual theaters on each side. Recognizing the significance of downtown as an additional access point, the North Entrance was aligned on the axis of Central Street, penetrating through the building into the theater lobbies.

© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

Each hall reads as a distinct volume; metaphorically evoking a musical instrument and visible through the glass shell. As the natural light changes, so does the building’s transparency, reflecting the structure’s surroundings and, at the same time, hinting at its interior. At night, the entire building becomes inverted, displaying all of its interior activities to the community outside.

Muriel Kauffman Theatre Section
Muriel Kauffman Theatre Section
Helzberg Hall Section
Helzberg Hall Section

The halls are served by a series of access balconies fronting on the great hall, forming two conical stacked rings of white plaster. The thousands of people mingling before and after performances and intermissions are theatrically visible to one another. Thus, the great hall with its surrounding balconies is a counterpoint to the theaters within; the theater of the public realm, where the celebrating public are visible to the southern sweep of the city.

© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

If the site generates the design of a complex as a whole, then the acoustic strategy is the generator of the design of Helzberg Hall. Working with Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, a volumetric and geometric concept for the hall evolved. From the outset, we wanted a hall that was intimate and in which the public is engaged with the musicians in a feeling of embrace. Rather than the traditional frontal relationship of stage and audience, we surrounded the music makers with the public. With the 1,600 seat count, which makes great intimacy possible, we strove to have each and every person experience the music without a balcony or ceiling above them. We also wanted the spatial experience within the hall to evoke the exterior design of the building. Thus, the fanning geometry of the northern façade is echoed within the interior, supporting the sculptural arrangement of the organ within it; as it reaches towards the ceiling it branches apart, forming skylights that allow the daylight and sun to penetrate and reflect upon the organ.

© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

In counterpoint to the warm intimacy of Helzberg Hall, the Muriel Kauffman Theater is festive and exuberant. The three balconies envelop the hall in a horseshoe-like enclosure. Each balcony is broken down into a series of steps cascading from the center rear balcony to the individual boxes on either side of the stage. The stepping enhances sightlines and provides for a sense of intimacy and connection with the action on the stage. The balcony balustrades are a contemporary reinterpretation of the gilded, glittering, candle-lit balconies of 18th and 19th century theaters. The lights reflect through the glass-like enclosure to form an ever-changing chandelier-like surface. The hall’s acoustic enclosure is composed of undulating walls, shaped like vertical stacked barrels and designed by Toyota for optimal sound reflection. To integrate these shapes into the whole, a series of slats provide a screen-like enclosure. A series of murals, conceived and designed by the students of the Kansas City Art Institute, are painted and illuminated directly on the acoustical structures. The overall effect is of a dynamic mural, rich in reds, greens, blues and yellows, fused into the geometry of the room.

© Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Safdie Architects" 18 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/151008/kauffman-center-for-the-performing-arts-moshe-safdie/>
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64 Comments

?Charlotte Chung · April 24, 2012

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://t.co/BjZIEYD1 via @archdaily

AllAboutDoor&Windows · March 12, 2012

#KansasCity&#39s newest architectural icon: Kauffman Center for Performing Arts: http://t.co/5mCxYSzz #architecture

Erik Bishoff Photog. · October 24, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie -:| http://t.co/IF0M3ExM |:- #architecture #kansascity #missouri #aia #design #art

Colorcoat · August 27, 2011

Interior is a beauty. Exterior caterpillar-like, somewhat revolting http://t.co/GV9Y1Jc | #architecture via @KostasBachas and Richard

ali · July 30, 2011

I love his Courage to this kind of forms

TheKCRag · July 25, 2011

Architects review the Performing Arts Center, fail at geography. http://t.co/8wrujxg

Timothy Gee · July 25, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/sItn13X via @archdaily

Karen · July 25, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://t.co/IXVCr31 via @archdaily

Alexandr · July 22, 2011

amazin!

Ventrell Williams · July 21, 2011

RT @BNIM: "I am a believer that the site always holds the secret for its design concept." @KauffmanCenter on @ArchDaily http://ow.ly/5JmuW

Kauffman Center · July 21, 2011

RT @BNIM "I am a believer that the site always holds the secret for its design concept."Safdie @KauffmanCenter @ArchDaily http://ow.ly/5JmuW

Architects BNIM · July 21, 2011

"I am a believer that the site always holds the secret for its design concept." —Safdie @KauffmanCenter on @ArchDaily http://ow.ly/5JmuW

Julia Kirchhausen · July 20, 2011

Check out Moshe Safdie&#39s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in ArchDaily http://t.co/u0yHsLb via @archdaily

erin scott · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/svdcPLM via @archdaily

Laura Spencer · July 20, 2011

RT @amyjslattery: @KauffmanCenter for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie / @BNIM | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/mXT9sF via @archdaily

Amy Slattery · July 20, 2011

@KauffmanCenter for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie / @BNIM | ArchDaily http://t.co/1WVcsU7 via @archdaily

Telfair Museums · July 20, 2011

Moshe Safdie, the architect who designed the Jepson Center, has a new project in Kansas City. Check it out! http://ow.ly/5Iq85

Telfair Museums · July 20, 2011

Moshe Safdie, the architect who designed the Jepson Center, has a new project in Kansas City. Check it out! http://ow.ly/5Iq85

Patrick Greene · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://pulse.me/s/K1E4 @apjacksonic #samearchitectasclassof59chapel #missouri

Chris Clark · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://archdai.ly/q1zqwR #architecture

Amira Jauregui · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center| Performing Arts http://t.co/NPoPAgs | Moshe Safdie #Architecture #Glass /v @KostasBachas @Colorcoat

Dan Salomon · July 20, 2011

Impresionante diseño! Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/WTZXvHK @ymendels @Shadow1962

Dan Salomon · July 20, 2011

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER!!! Impresionante diseño! Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/WTZXvHK

samudera phalo · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/KWzz0DG via @archdaily

Blake Archer · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/QPprd4X via @archdaily #onlyinKC

Colorcoat · July 20, 2011

first reaction? http://t.co/NPoPAgs Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie #architecture” via @KostasBachas

Carel Munoz · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://goo.gl/XwUMt

izzy+ · July 20, 2011

I love the pics of how this new performing arts center fits into the Kansas City cityscape. http://bit.ly/mXT9sF #architecture

urban green · July 20, 2011

Wow -what a colossal waste of money!

Another subpar building by a somewhat famous architect - I can see the Kansas City Commerce using this in a television commercial in an attempt to attract travel (and potential young professionals)in Kansas City.

james · July 20, 2011 07:28 AM

i feel like your judgment on this project is shallow... i submit a project should be evaluated on more than just (exterior) aesthetic conformity to what's in 'vogue'.

its form is definitely outrageous! but, i'm not revolted by it--instead, i'm intensely curious! :)

Ivan Djordjevic · July 20, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://t.co/pPptnM5 via @archdaily

Marco Theseider Duprè · July 20, 2011

bleah!

csrock · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/pVRNtr

Brad Feinknopf · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts by Moshe Safdie http://t.co/E85O2FD (via @archdaily)

OAQ · July 19, 2011

Livre from Missouri, le dernier projet du créateur d&#39Habitat 67 http://t.co/3BxaHMc #architecture via@ArchDaily

Paul Lopes · July 19, 2011

New Moshe Safdie Building - http://t.co/8dKtwDx (via @ArchDaily )

pezhman · July 19, 2011
daqb design · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://archdai.ly/q1zqwR #architecture

Richard · July 19, 2011

Interior is a beauty. Exterior caterpillar-like, somewhat revolting

CHARLE · July 19, 2011

grrr !!!

Kostas Bachas · July 19, 2011

first reaction: monolithic “@ArchDaily: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://t.co/RqNJJhO #architecture”

Luiz Dumont · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://archdai.ly/q1zqwR #architecture

innovate kansas · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie,http://t.co/vK3yVtp

The truth will set you free · July 19, 2011

Everything's nice except maybe for the front elevation

The truth will set you free · July 19, 2011

everything's nice except for the front elevation

Kelsey Holt · July 19, 2011

Via @ArchDaily - Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://dlvr.it/bgq3c #architecture

Erik Joya · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: © Tim Hursley Architects: Moshe… http://goo.gl/fb/CZ472

Matt Taylor · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://zite.to/qVI39X via @zite

Leticia · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://tinyurl.com/44cpsuz

Leticia · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://tinyurl.com/44cpsuz

ArchitecturePassion · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: © Tim HursleyArchitects: Moshe Safdie Location: Ka... http://tinyurl.com/44cpsuz

ArchitecturePassion · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: © Tim HursleyArchitects: Moshe Safdie Location: Ka... http://tinyurl.com/44cpsuz

Architype Review · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: Architects: Moshe Safdie Location: Kansas, Missouri, USA... http://bit.ly/noRDme

Architype Review · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: Architects: Moshe Safdie Location: Kansas, Missouri, USA... http://bit.ly/noRDme

Piropos · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://archdai.ly/q1zqwR #architecture

Piropos · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie http://archdai.ly/q1zqwR #architecture

p/a/n/g/e/r/a/n · July 19, 2011

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p/a/n/g/e/r/a/n · July 19, 2011

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Barry Maguire · July 19, 2011

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie via ArchDaily - © Tim Hursley Architects: Moshe ... http://tinyurl.com/3knaslg

Bocetos Digitales · July 19, 2011

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Bocetos Digitales · July 19, 2011

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Travel Writer · July 19, 2011

RT| Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: © Tim HursleyArchitects: Moshe Safdie Loc... http://bit.ly/qpIf3S @archdaily

Travel Writer · July 19, 2011

RT| Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie: © Tim HursleyArchitects: Moshe Safdie Loc... http://bit.ly/qpIf3S @archdaily

James · July 19, 2011

Safdie's always one of those architects who you really want to like their work more than you actually do.

He's one of the good guys, but... somehow, meh.

Bopp · July 19, 2011 08:03 PM

exactly what I was thinking, except for 'the good guys' as I don't really know what the definition is for 'the good guys'.

cj · July 19, 2011

Ummm.... They just ripped off Gehry's Disney Hall interior, and not very well either.

···

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© Tim Hursley

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts