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DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York, United States

Thursday 28 Jun 2012

A first for classical music in NYC

Francis Dzikowski/ESTO 
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Award Entry

H3's transformation of an existing concrete building into a vibrant new cultural hub 

The DiMenna Center adaptively reuses the lower half of a concrete, former Off-Broadway theater building as the City’s first rehearsal and recording facility designed for classical music. It also serves as the first permanent home for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the country’s premier chamber orchestra.

The 20,000-sq-ft Center sits nearby the Lincoln Tunnel and Port Authority Bus Terminal and below the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s dance studios and performance space. Addressing the varied needs of musicians, the Center includes Cary Hall (3,500 sq ft); Benzaquen Hall (1,700 sq ft); ensemble room; green room; practice rooms; learning and media studio; two lounges with restrooms and showers; café; music library; administrative and production offices; instrument storage and shared public lobby.

The design of the rehearsal spaces eliminates outside noise and delivers superior room acoustics that rival the City’s great concert halls. Each rehearsal room floats on neoprene pads and springs inside an acoustic isolation chamber anchored to an outer box of concrete. Articulated surfaces and wood floors create a warm, welcoming environment that blends and sustains sound.

Cary Hall features a series of wood slats with rounded edges and acoustically-calibrated spacing. Behind the slats is an acoustical shelf, highly-articulated masonry units, and a system of adjustable acoustical draperies. Soundproof skylights in Cary Hall bring diffuse daylight into the room - unprecedented in professional rehearsing and recording facilities. In Benzaquen Hall, an alternate treatment of wood slats and fabric-wrapped panels addresses the acoustical requirements of the smaller space.

Anticipating a LEED-CI Platinum rating, the project excels in a 23% increase in building envelope efficiency, a 32.7% reduction in water usage, an 81% efficient mechanical system, and recycling of 75% of construction waste, including donation of theater seats and elevators to non-profit organisations.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

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