New York's renowned Julliard finds itself on street level
Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE Architects recently completed a major renovation and expansion of The Juilliard School, one of the world’s premier conservatories of music, dance and drama. The project is part of the redevelopment of New York City’s Lincoln Center performing arts complex. Largely unchanged since its construction by Pietro Belluschi in 1969, The Juilliard School is considered one of the best examples of Brutalism in the United States. The building’s renovation and expansion allows the school to establish a vibrant, street-level presence and meet its growing program requirements while keeping pace with advances in technology.
The 100,000 sq ft renovation includes the addition of approximately 40,000 sq ft of usable space, extending the building volume east to Broadway and reinforcing the street grid. The transparent curtain wall façade of the addition reveals the school’s circulation and rehearsal activities to the street, creating an animated public presence along one of Manhattan’s busiest streets. Other programmatic elements of the renovation / expansion include additional space for teaching studios, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, administrative offices, a music technology centre, an archive, and lounge areas. Many spaces are designed as multi-functional to accommodate requirements for flexibility and efficiency, and all the performance-related spaces are acoustically isolated and fitted with state-of-the-art technology. The design relieves the dark, labyrinthine interiors by providing natural light and locating informal gathering spaces as orienting elements.
Juilliard’s entranceway, previously only accessible from Lincoln Center’s plaza level, was relocated to the street level, providing views of the life within after decades of obscurity. Carved from underused, disjointed circulation spaces, the three-story lobby has become a prominent public feature and an animated social hub for the school. The new public face for Juilliard provides a sense of place and identity within the city and represents the school’s history and status as the pinnacle of performing arts education.