|A $13.7 million upgrade to Kansas City's Music Hall and Municipal Auditorium expanded the theater’s backstage, back-of-house, and support areas to accommodate larger productions and traveling national shows.|
|The show will go on in Kansas City’s beloved Music Hall and Municipal Auditorium thanks to a fast-track renovation and expansion project that brought the 72-year-old Art Deco playhouse up to 21st-century standards.
With virtually no room to spare, the Building Team was able to carve out precious performance space by carefully removing and reworking the existing support spaces, floors, and structural and mechanical systems. The effort involved stretching the stage depth from 36 feet to 50 feet and raising the stage roof 15 feet (to a height of 85 feet) to accommodate taller sets that can be “flown” above the stage floor, enabling quick, discreet set changes.
The theatrical support space was also improved with more direct access to the stage from the stage elevator, more than 80 sets of rigging lines for expanded production capabilities, below-floor cable trays for traveling production access, handicap-accessible dressing rooms, and laundry facilities.
Theatergoers are treated to improved views and a more comfortable experience, thanks to new plush seats, an optimal seating configuration, and easily accessible restrooms. To meet ADA requirements, ramps were constructed in the historic lobby and handicap seats were added in the theater space.
To express the music hall’s transformation from an outdated theater to a modern performance space, architects Holzman Moss Architecture, New York, and Helix Architecture + Design, Kansas City, clad the exterior of the stage roof extension in undulating stainless steel panels that were inspired by the building’s historic Art Deco façade, with a nod to the scalloped-shaped stonework that defines the cornice.
Early in the design process, the design team consulted with various city agencies, including the Kansas City Landmarks Commission and the Historic Kansas City Foundation, to illustrate options for expanding the building. One of the most striking components of the music hall’s elevation is its symmetrical quality that is the hallmark of Art Deco buildings. With the expansion of the stage house, which projects beyond the existing building by 15 feet, an element of asymmetry is added to the façade.
Kansas City Music Hall and Municipal Auditorium
Kansas City, Mo.
Submitting firm: Helix Architecture + Design (local architect)
Architect: Holzman Moss Architecture
Structural engineer: Walter P Moore
Mechanical/electrical engineer: ME Group
General contractor: Taylor Kelly Construction
Construction manager: The Konrath Group
Theater consultant: Fisher Dachs Associates
Acoustical consultant: Talaske
Size: 20,000 sf
Construction cost: $13.7 million
Construction time: September 2006 to April 2007
Delivery method: Design/Build/Build with CM