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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., United States

Friday 01 Feb 2013

Creative Learning Spaces

Images courtesy of Steven Holl Architects 
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An expansion to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington to be designed by Steven Holl Architects 

Just this week, the expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was announced by David M. Rubenstein, Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The expansion project to be constructed south of the existing facility and will include rehearsal spaces as well as dedicated classroom space and multipurpose rooms for the Center's extensive arts education and arts management education programs.

The architects chosen for the project, Steven Holl and Chris McVoy from Steven Holl Architects, have designed a series of public access spaces which will include gardens, an outdoor video wall upon which simulcast performances and other multimedia events may be projected, and an outdoor performance space on the river.

"I am proud to announce the selection of acclaimed Steven Holl Architects for the Kennedy Center expansion project and look forward to working with one of the foremost architects of our time," stated Mr. Rubenstein. "Steven's wonderful concept will create a strong visual presence that bolsters the Center's prominence as the national cultural centre, while maintaining its unique presence among Washington's iconic landmarks."

The initial design includes three connected pavilions that will house classrooms, rehearsal rooms, lecture space, multipurpose rooms, and limited office space. One of the pavilions will float on the Potomac River and offer an outdoor stage. The design incorporates public gardens that fill out the space, fusing the Kennedy Center with the landscape and river.

Steven Holl Architects was unanimously selected by the Kennedy Center board of trustees to design the project. Mr. Holl remarked: "It is a great honour to design the extension to the Kennedy Center, a ‘Living Memorial.' In that spirit ours is part of a vital architecture, providing much needed rehearsal space, and classrooms with natural light and ventilation."

For the exterior facades, the architects have taken inspiration for the existing site and chosen to use translucent Okalux, glass, and Carrara marble, same Italian marble which clad the original facility. The silhouette of the current building will be preserved by connecting the new structure underground and via the main plaza. A formal design will be created and announced in the coming months.

Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser has said: "The Kennedy Center has the largest arts education program in the country without having any dedicated facilities to serve these growing programs. I'm so pleased the Kennedy Center will have spaces specifically designed for these functions to help fulfil our mission of bringing arts education to students across Washington and to millions of people across the country." 

Jessica Tang

Key Facts

Status Concept
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Steven Holl Architects

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