Gehry-Designed Performing Arts Center Planned for New York
The center will be part of a new 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use complex located on ever-gentrified West 42nd Street.
Nicholas Tamarin -- Interior Design, 1/14/2010 12:00:00 AM
From left: playwright Tony Kushner; actor/director Ruben Santiago-Hudson; NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Signature Founding Artistic Director Jim Houghton; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Related Companies Executive Vice President Bruce Beal; Signature managing director Erika Mallin; playwright John Guare, and actress Hallie Foote. AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Inc., Steve Shevett.
Though his plans for Brooklyn Yards have been scrapped, Frank Gehry hasn’t soured on New York. The Los Angeles-based architect's Signature Center performing arts complex has just been green-lighted, thanks to a $25 million commitment from the city that will speed groundbreaking on the $60 million project.
The center will be a star-studded component of an $800 million, 1.2-million-square-foot, mixed-use complex on 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, west of New York’s Theater Row. Designed by Arquitectonica and Ismael Leyva, the building will include a hotel and 800 apartments, 160 of which will be designated for low-income families. Aiming for LEED-Silver certification upon completion, it will incorporate smart design measures and efficiency systems that are expected to save more than $800,000 in annual energy costs for its 1,800 anticipated residents.
The Gehry-designed Signature Center will serve as headquarters and performance space for off-Broadway's celebrated Signature Theatre Company, which has already raised $16 million for the project, with plans to contribute an additional $19 million. The center will include rehearsal studios, a café, bookstore and administrative offices, as well as three theaters capable of accomodating 80,000 ticket holders per season, more than double the capacity of the theater's current home, The Peter Norton Space, also on West 42nd Street.
That will be welcome news for multiple Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, Signature's playwright-in-residence for 2010-11, and the theater's artists-in-residence: actors Bill Irwin and Hallie Foote, author/actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and playwrights John Guare and Edward Albee.
“Signature Theatre Company is one of New York City’s most successful and fastest growing cultural groups, and its spectacular new home will allow it to continue to expand,” says Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who dubbed the new center "a word-class performance venue in the heart of the City’s theater district.”
"I don’t expect in my lifetime to run into too many opportunities where I have the ability to participate in something that will be a lasting legacy for my community,” says actor Edward Norton, Signature Theatre Trustee and co-chair of its capital campaign. “I strongly believe that the Signature Center is one such opportunity where we can make a significant contribution to the future landscape of the arts in New York City.”
Construction of the overall complex will create 700 jobs and is expected to be completed in 2011, while the Signature Center is shooting for a 2012 completion date.