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Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
LMN Architects

Outdoor and indoor commingle in a cultural gathering place

© Mike Zens Photography

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Home to both the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the new Marion Oliver McCaw Hall defines the urban edge of the campus of the Seattle Center, a civic cultural and recreational area that was originally built to accommodate the 1962 World's Fair.

Scheduled for completion in 2003, this 280,000-square-foot redevelopment, which involves a complete restructuring of the interior plan and replacement of the five-story building envelope, includes extensive life safety and seismic improvements and accommodations for state-of-the-art theatrical systems. A 400-seat lecture hall and an entry lobby have been added to the existing 2,900-seat hall. An acoustically tuned rehearsal hall, climate-controlled rehearsal pit, stage-level dressing rooms and extra lounges for performers and patrons complete the new opera house.

An expanded lobby is bounded by a five-story serpentine glass wall and faces a sculptural water feature, setting up an interplay between indoor and outdoor space. Public areas are defined by a three-dimensional field of metal scrims designed as a medium for projected lights and images. These amplify nighttime visibility throughout the district. Scrim panels cross the passageway adjacent to the opera house, extending the entry area in the streetscape and inviting the entire community's participation.

Inside the entry, a stairway climbs to a second-level grand lobby with excellent views, and two upper level lobbies facilitate box seating. A narrowed auditorium shape and raised proscenium put patrons at eye level with performers, and multi-tiered box seating and ramped areas enhance site lines.

Formal name of building:
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall


Gross square footage:
280,000 sf

Total construction cost:
$90 million

Seattle Center

Architect's firm:
LMN Architects
801 Second Avenue, Suite 501
Seattle, WA 98104


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