REX's performing arts center at the World Trade Center is finally moving forward. Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announced stakeholders had reached an agreement on developing and managing the 200,000-square-foot multipurpose arts space, which was designed by Brooklyn's REX. Named after financier Ronald Perelman, the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center will feature three flexible theaters as well as public space—in the form of a restaurant and a gift shop—on the first level. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bi-state agency that runs the World Trade Center site, will lease space at one dollar per year for 99 years to World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, Inc., the entity that will develop and manage the theater. The agreement stipulates that the lease can be extended for an additional 99 years, and the Port Authority can transfer the land to performing arts center for one dollar if it chooses. Once the deal is inked, the Perelman Center will fork over $48 million—money it's receiving from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC)—to the Port Authority, which is using the funds to cover the cost of below-ground site work for the building. The site work will be done by the end of this year. The amount is a compromise between the LMDC and the Port Authority: Last year, the agencies couldn't agree on how much the former owed the latter for the work, an impasse that stalled the project's build-out. When it's complete, though, the building should be a stunner. Clad in the same creamy marble as SOM's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, in renderings the cubed exterior is subtle but stylish, with enough heft to hold its own against the skyscrapers that surround it. REX was picked to design the project back in November 2015, and designs were revealed in a public ceremony less than a year later. Above-ground construction on the site, at the northwest corner of Fulton and Greenwich streets, will begin next year. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to REX for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Posts tagged with "World Trade Center Performing Arts Center":
Construction on the REX-designed performing arts center at Ground Zero could be delayed if the federal government decides to revoke millions in funding. After 9/11, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave nearly $3 billion in funds to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the public-benefit program in charge of the area's regeneration. The LMDC has $150 million of that grant money left to spend, and the group planned to use around $100 million of those funds on the luminous Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (the Perelman Center, for short). That plan, though, was called into question at a recent LMDC board meeting. REX's project would be built on Port Authority land, but the agency says the LMDC owes it money for the work it did to prepare below-grade land for construction. Both parties agree on the existence of the debt, but not the amount: the Port Authority says it's owed $67 million, while the LMDC claims it owes only $45 million. These issues could leave Perelman Center construction at an impasse, but Crain's reports the two parties are working towards a compromise by the end of June. In HUD's eyes, the LMDC may have done too good a job bringing the World Trade Center area back to life. The neighborhood—with new and new-ish buildings by Calatrava, SOM, Fumihiko Maki, and (soon) BIG—has bounded back in the 16 years since the 9/11 attacks. Given its remarkable resurgence, state and local officials say the LMDC completed its fundamental task, so HUD may want its money back. Though restaurants are extending the neighborhood activity past 5 o'clock, the Perelman Center boosters say the area needs a performing arts center to fully cultivate a 24/7 neighborhood. In addition to shows, the first floor would be home to a cafe and restaurant with extended hours that would, its architect said, anchor the neighborhood by drawing people in even in the absence of scheduled performances.
Today, REX’s design for the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center was revealed before an eager audience of architects, press, developers, and New York City patrons of the arts. “Downtown is back as a premier place for business," said Larry Silverstein, co-founder of Silverstein Properties, a major stakeholder in the World Trade Center site. "There is 10 million square feet of office space replacing what was destroyed on 9/11, and there are 25,000 workers in that space. The neighborhood has become a model of what is best and most exciting about New York. Daniel Liebskind's master plan for the area balanced commemorative function with the need to create a vibrant neighborhood. The performing arts center is an integral part of that and will bring a new dynamic to downtown." Maggie Boepple, president and director of the Perelman Center, noted that the group met with over 200 people—artists, neighbors, and critics—to determine what type of performing space the city most wanted. The resulting program translates the need for flexibility into mutable performance spaces that can be endlessly configured, explained Joshua Prince-Ramus, founding principal of REX. His team created a translucent marble box with a creamy amber pattern straight from a grandmother’s snakeskin purse but with all the requisite gravitas for a building on hallowed ground. “The light comes out like a beacon,” the eponymous Perelman gushed. "[The center] is a simple, pure form that creates a mystery box, defying [visitors'] expectations," Prince-Ramus said. At the intersection of Greenwich and Fulton, and perpendicular to Calatrava's PATH station, the three-story building is "an exciting pop" that dialogues with the entry to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, he noted. The facade is made of the same Vermont marble used for the Jefferson Memorial and the recently-refurbished Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, but the Perelman Center's stone will be sliced thinly and laminated between two layers of glass to improve the structure's performance. Like a magic show, architects from REX's team lined up to pull the model apart, layer by layer, as Prince-Ramus detailed its functions. Visitors enter the coffered main lobby (level one) through a staircase that spills from a steep cut at the top of a 21-foot plinth. The top floor, the Play Level, is comprised of four main auditoria—with 499, 250, and 99-person capacities, plus a smaller flex space—whose acoustic guillotine walls have “an endless number of permutations [for the artistic director to create] that we can’t even predict, and that’s incredibly exciting.” The renderings and diagrams in the gallery above depict some possible arrangements and circulations. The Performer Level, level two, is the building's support area, with practice spaces, dressing rooms, costume shop, and green rooms for performers. In most theaters, these spaces receive scant light; in REX's design, the translucent marble facade allows natural light in. AN spoke with Sebastian Hofmeister and Vaidas Vaiciulis, two REX architects on the project. The layered model took three or four weeks to make, "and at the end, even Joshua was gluing a few pieces on," they said. This video by David Langford (link here) takes viewers through the site, and inside the model, while the section GIF below shows visitor flow through the building: Brooklyn-based REX is collaborating with Threshold Acoustics consultants from Chicago and theater designer Andy Hales of Charcoalblue (the same firm that collaborated with Marvel Architects on the recently opened St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO). The 90,000-square-foot building's design changed “remarkably little” between concept and execution, Boepple said, except to allow for additional security measures. Due in large part to a $75 million donation from its namesake board member, the Perelman Center has raised $175 million of its $250 million projected cost, with $99 million of the funds coming from HUD regeneration money dispensed through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The center is expected to open in 2020. For more images and information, visit theperelman.org.
Billionaire businessman Ronald O. Perelman announced yesterday that he is donating $75 million to the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center. The performing arts center featured prominently into Daniel Libeskind's 2003 master plan for the site. The center, a midsize theater backers tout as a forum for interdisciplinary work, stalled as officials clashed over the site's redevelopment: Frank Gehry was hired to design the site, but his plan was ultimately rejected in favor of a design by Brooklyn-based REX. It's one of the last unfinished pieces on-site. Perelman, the former chairman of Carnegie Hall, was impressed by REX's renderings (which are not yet public) and with the technological capabilities of the theaters. He got involved in the performing arts center began ten years ago, when then-mayor Michael Bloomberg became the chairman of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum to restore institution and public support of the project. He solicited support from Perelman, who eagerly agreed to a $5 million donation, The New York Times reports. The center will be renamed in his honor. REX's $240 million design shows three flexible theater spaces that can seat 499 people, 299 people, and 100 people, respectively, or be combined into a larger space for 1,200. Chamber opera, dance, theater, and concerts can be held in the center; and performances can be disseminated to global audiences via a sophisticated streaming system. In addition to Perelman's contribution, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation contributed $100 million in federal funds to the project.
Brooklyn-based architecture firm REX will design the approximately 80,000 square foot Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PAC). The PAC will produce and show theater, music, musical theater, dance, film, and opera. The commission was previously given to Frank Gehry over a decade ago. “We are honored to design such a meaningful project on a site imbued with deep significance for the people of New York,” Joshua Prince-Ramus, REX's principal, said in a statement. “I am confident that our collaboration with PAC's exceptional team will help create a building that embodies and inspires the many dimensions of creative expression." REX topped a shortlist comprised of Copenhagen's Henning Larsen and Amsterdam's UNStudio. PAC Chairman John Zuccotti and President/Director Maggie Boepple selected the Brooklyn-based firm to design the project, although designs have yet to be released. Last week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) released $10 million of a pledged $99 million for the construction of the new venue. The project may cost more, but the difference will be made up through private donations. REX will collaborate with Davis Brody Bond (designers of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum), theater consultants Charcoalblue, and project managers DBI on the project. The PAC has gone through a few design selection cycles. In 2013, Frank Gehry was selected to build the center, but his proposal was downsized, and ultimately scrapped. The new venue is slated to open in 2019.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects. “With his decades of experience in fortifying the city’s cultural institutions, Tom has developed a deep understanding of the powerful role art and culture play in moving our city forward, and the necessity of increasing access to our creative landmarks for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said at the announcement. “With Tom at the helm of [the Department of Cultural Affairs], I’m confident that New York City will not only continue to thrive as a global cultural hub, but also make the arts more accessible to New Yorkers in every neighborhood.” As commissioner, Finkelpearl will oversee a $156 million budget and become a key player in the future of the city's world-famous arts institutions. In this capacity, he will also help decide the fate of currently stalled projects like the beleaguered World Trade Center Performing Arts Center. Arts and cultural programming were a key focus for Mayor Bloomberg, and those in the arts community have been skeptical of his successor's commitment to their field. It should be noted that this appointment comes more than three months after the mayor took office.
As the key elements of the World Trade Center site inch closer to completion, it looks like the Frank Gehry–designed Performing Arts Center might be left behind. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Center faces incredibly daunting logistical and financial roadblocks that could doom the project entirely. So, where to start? With the money, of course. Last year, construction costs for the project were pegged around $470 million, $155 million of which will be covered by federal funds. The fledgling non-profit behind the Center must find ways to make up the significant difference. This is even more daunting than it seems considering that the non-profit ran a deficit last year and owes $300,000 to the 9/11 Memorial foundation. The organization hopes to secure federal funds for the Center, but doing so will be especially difficult if they don’t have Mayor de Blasio’s support. It’s not clear if the mayor supports this project in the first place. And making matters even worse, de Blasio has not appointed a Cultural-Affairs Commissioner—a key player in the Center’s future. Putting the money issue aside for a moment, it's also not clear what the actual building will look like. The Journal reported that a decade after Gehry was selected to design the center, “his involvement in the project is now unclear.” Assuming that de Blasio—and his yet-to-be-named Cultural-Affairs commissioner—come out in favor of this plan and that the non-profit manages to secure the necessary funding and that Gehry comes on board to help the whole thing move forward, even if all of that happens, just building the center will be incredibly difficult. Someone familiar with the complexity of the World Trade Center site told the WSJ, “[The Performing Arts Center] would have to be constructed like a 3-D puzzle around infrastructure including PATH train tracks, a vehicle ramp, emergency subway exits and ventilation ducts that would come up through the arts center to more than 40 feet above street level.” And that’s not all, “the arts center would require extensive soundproofing to mitigate the subway vibrations.” Despite all of the obstacles—and there are even more—some in New York’s art community are cautiously optimistic about the plan. They believe that if the funding can be secured, and a clear vision presented, the center may have a fighting chance.