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Two River Theater
Red Bank, N.J.
H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

Theater’s exterior responds to industrial context

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Photo © Peter Mauss/Esto

The town of Red Bank, N.J., marked a milestone in its rejuvenation with the opening of the Two River Theater Company’s new building—its first permanent home since the theater company premiered its first production in 1995. Designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration, the facility features a 350-seat thrust stage theater, a rehearsal hall, lobby, and administrative spaces. Situated in a former industrial area, the theater responds to its context by presenting a layering of opposites: raw and finished, interior and exterior, transparent and opaque, geometric and organic.

Three forms house the major spaces. At the heart is a large, masonry-clad theater and rehearsal hall, which provides the acoustic solidity required for sound isolation. Its patterned, multi-color brick facade takes inspiration from older buildings in the neighborhood, allowing the space to stand out without seeming out of place. A separate wing provides space for a full range of back-of-house support functions including dressing rooms, a loading dock, and offices.

The lobby completes the architect’s composition. Acting like a marquee for the entire building, this two-story volume is adorned with wood timbers that resemble the cantilever and truss forms in the Pulaski Skyway, an important elevated highway in New Jersey. Inside the lobby, patterned rugs accent polished concrete floors and define a series of intimate lounging areas.

The theater itself features a modestly sized thrust stage that allows for a range of dramatic productions, while its large proscenium provides a flexible environment for set designers. In addition to the auditorium, a 2,500-square-foot rehearsal room doubles as performance space and also can be used for pre-and post-performance events and classes.

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Formal name of Project:
Two River Theater

Red Bank, N.J.

Gross square footage:
41,000 sq. ft.

Total project cost:
$15.7 million

Two River Theater Company
223 Maple Ave.
P.O. Box 8035
Red Bank, NJ 07701
732-345-1400 tel.

H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC
902 Broadway, 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10010
212-677-6030 tel.
212-979-0535 fax

Project design was started by predecessor firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA), which has since disbanded. H3 was responsible for finishing the construction of the building.

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