February 4, 2005
||Click photos for a
Image Courtesy Jock Pottle
Image Courtesy Advanced
After years of producing wildly curvaceous
buildings, Frank Gehry, FAIA, appears ready to use
at least for a while- straight lines.
Today Gehry and Hugh Hardy, FAIA, of
H3 Hardy Collaboration, unveiled their new $35.8 million Theater
for a New Audience in Downtown Brooklyn, a 299-seat flexible
theater that will essentially be a box clad in large, stainless
steel shingles and angled planes of glass.
The theater company, a troupe that specializes
in Shakespeare and the classics, wanted to utilize the cube-shape
to maximize intimacy and, says Hardy, to replicate the courtyards
where Elizabethan theater was often performed. He adds that
the rectilinear shape- a sharp departure from much of Gehrys
recent work- helped draw the California-based architect to
It became a challenge for both
of us, Hardy says. What do you do to a box to
make it interesting?
For starters the 58-foot tall buildings
front façade will feature a massive curtain wall revealing
a brightly-lit, lively interior; its side-placed stainless
steel shingles, patterned, will glimmer in the sun; and undulating
metal flourishes, also on the sides, will identify administrative
If architecture didnt contribute
curiosity it wouldnt be worth doing, adds Hardy,
whose team carefully balanced simplicity with attention-grabbing
bravura in putting the design together.
Inside, the theater will contain three
levels of seating, able to transform into various configurations,
including theater in the round, says Hardy. The theater will
also contain a 50-seat rehearsal/performance space, a café,
a roof garden, and the administrative offices.
The design is part of a new Brooklyn
Academy of Music (BAM) Cultural District that includes a future
performing arts branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, designed
by Enrique Norten; a recently-completed renovation of a former
State office building into affordable office space, mostly
for arts organizations, and a future cultural facility to
be determined later (proposals from cultural organizations
are due by February 7). Norten and Hardy will collaborate
on a 38 foot-wide public space separating their two buildings.
The Theater will receive $6.2 million
in City support through the BAM Local Development Corporation.