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Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, United States 
Wednesday 15 Sep 2010
 
The last act crowns the play... 
 
Safdie Architects 
 
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Editorial

Construction of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Missouri fully underway 

Construction is now well underway for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Designed by Safdie Architects and BNIM Architects at a cost of $304m, plans boast a 1,800-seat Ballet Opera House, a 1,600-seat Concert Hall, a series of rehearsal rooms and support spaces over a total area of 356,000 sq ft.

Three performance spaces - a proscenium theater, a concert hall, and a banquet hall - are placed along the ridgeline of the site, facing south. A glazed foyer serves the two major halls, with a smaller foyer attached to the banquet hall. Patrons proceed to a lower lobby, which opens to the view south and the terraced gardens, and then enter by grand staircase or elevator to the main lobby.

The enveloping structure of the complex is a series of undulating, vertical segments of a circle forming the northern container of the theater's stage, concert hall, and experimental theater. As these elements ascend, they create a segmented, gently curving crown to the building. From this crest, the roof descends in a curve following the toroidal geometry of light cables, metal, and glass toward the south.

The roof intersects with an outwardly inclined and curved glass wall, which contains the foyer with a southern view. The tensile forces of the suspended glass foyer roof are counteracted by a series of cables tying down the structure to anchors at the entrance terrace. The curved, segmented northern walls are sheathed in silvery stainless steel and punctuated by acid-etched, limestone-colored, precast concrete perpendicular walls.

The roof is stainless steel over the performing halls, changing to glass over the foyers. The glass enclosure opens the foyer to dramatic views of the sky and skyline. At night, seen from the exterior, the glazing disappears and reveals the dramatically lit theater facades and activity within the public areas. The theater facades are clad in veneer plaster forming continuous curved, stacked balconies whilst the lobby bars form sculptural shapes visible under the glass structure.

Construction is slated for completion in 2011.

Additional Credits

Client: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Associate Architect: BNIM Architects
Engineering Team: Arup (NY office, structural/mechanical), Structural Engineering Associates (local structural) and W.L. Cassell & Associates (local mechanical)

Key Facts

Status In construction
Value 239(m€)
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Safdie Architects
www.msafdie.com

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