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Groundbreaking held for Steven Holl Architects-designed expansion to John F. Kennedy Center

On 2 December 2014, 50 years to the day since the original groundbreaking of the John F. Kennedy Center, a groundbreaking was held for the institution’s Steven Holl Architects-designed expansion. The White House made the gold-plated steel used in the original ceremony available to the institution for the 2014 groundbreaking.

Situated in Washington DC, the Kennedy Center provides comprehensive arts education services to millions of people across the country. This will be the first expansion in its 50-year history and will enable the public to interact with artists at the Center.

The connection to the nearby Potomac River - included in the original Edward Durell Stone design but not seen through to realisation - will be found in a River Pavilion, providing an intimate venue for small scale performances. This connection of the Center to the landscape was integral to the Steven Holl Architects plan.

The wider scheme includes rehearsal rooms, classrooms, a lecture hall, multipurpose meeting rooms, and an event space. Bathed in natural light, the expansion will also create a series of smaller spaces for informal meetings and quiet contemplation. A grove of 35 ginkgo trees acknowledges President Kennedy’s position as America’s 35th president.

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