flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

The Kennedy Center expands for the first time since its 1971 debut

Cultural Facilities

The Kennedy Center expands for the first time since its 1971 debut

The REACH, with three pavilions on a generous lawn, adds openness and light to this performance space.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | September 11, 2019
Steven Holl Architects, The Kennedy Center expands for the first time since its 1971 debut

An aerial view of The REACH (left, in front of the Kennedy Center), whose three pavilions are connected underground. Images: Richard Barnes, Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. opened its first-ever expansion on September 7, and is celebrating that opening with 16 days of free programming.

Designed by Steven Holl Architects, The REACH, as the addition is known, is anchored by three pavilions—called Welcome, Skylight, and River—located on more than 130,000 sf of sweeping lawn that overlooks the Potomac River. The buildings are linked below ground to create an expanded facility that includes classrooms, three rehearsal studios, and multiuse public spaces.

The project incorporates engineering features that include a void slab design, a technique rarely used in the U.S., which allowed for the expansion’s dramatic sculptural forms and spacious interiors. Plastic balls are embedded in the concrete to reduce the overall deadweight and allow for longer spans. Arup coordinated closely with the design team to ensure that each component of the building’s systems was effectively woven into the slab system on schedule.

 

The Link walkway connects the Kennedy Center's main building to the REACH.

 

To support the architectural vision and ambitious sustainability targets, Arup's team of engineers and consultants collaborated to develop a building systems strategy that optimizes energy performance while remaining largely unseen. For example, an under-floor concrete trench system enables the building services to be distributed out of sightline, thereby preserving the integrity of the architectural vision.

The strategy also incorporates a range of performance-enhancing technologies, from a closed-loop, ground source heat rejection system, to advanced temperature controls and radiant floor heating. Using Arup’s in-house software suite, Oasys Building Environmental Analysis (BEANS), the team demonstrated that the addition of radiant floors would counteract the thermal effects of one of the pavilion’s massive curved wall, providing both heating and cooling and significantly boosting comfort throughout the year while keeping energy demands within acceptable levels.

 

One of three rehearsal studios at The REACH.

 

The REACH could be viewed as a counterpoint to the monolithic Kennedy Center, which one architectural critic once disparaged as a “superbunker” with over-the-top interior design elements and few windows. In contrast, the REACH’s 72,000 sf interior space—which include a living theater, immersive learning center, and public arts incubator—present more-open, inviting spaces to visitors and patrons. The addition increases the Kennedy Center’s public-facing areas by 20%, Deborah Rutter, the Center’s president, told Bizjournals.com.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company was the construction manager on the project.

The REACH cost an estimated $175 million, 75% over its original construction buddget, and took two more years than planned to complete. Its supporters say that a portion of the extra cost will pay for operations. The Kennedy Center is in the process of raising $250 million in individual and corporate donations for the new facility, which is targeting LEED Gold certification.

 

The lobby for the Welcome Pavilion, one of three buildings that comprise The REACH.

Related Stories

Museums | Oct 25, 2022

Seattle Aquarium’s new Ocean Pavilion emphasizes human connection to oceans

Seattle Aquarium’s new Ocean Pavilion, currently under construction, features several exhibits that examine the human connection with the Earth’s oceans.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 90 Construction Management Firms for 2022

CBRE, Alfa Tech, Jacobs, and Hill International head the rankings of the nation's largest construction management (as agent) and program/project management firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 200 Contractors for 2022

Turner Construction, STO Building Group, Whiting-Turner, and DPR Construction top the ranking of the nation's largest general contractors, CM at risk firms, and design-builders for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 45 Engineering Architecture Firms for 2022

Jacobs, AECOM, WSP, and Burns & McDonnell top the rankings of the nation's largest engineering architecture (EA) firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 80 Engineering Firms for 2022

Kimley-Horn, Tetra Tech, Langan, and NV5 head the rankings of the nation's largest engineering firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 21, 2022

Top 110 Architecture/Engineering Firms for 2022

Stantec, HDR, HOK, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill top the rankings of the nation's largest architecture engineering (AE) firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 20, 2022

Top 180 Architecture Firms for 2022

Gensler, Perkins and Will, HKS, and Perkins Eastman top the rankings of the nation's largest architecture firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 19, 2022

2022 Giants 400 Report: Tracking the nation's largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms

Now 46 years running, Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report rankings the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. This year a record 519 AEC firms participated in BD+C's Giants 400 report. The final report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories. 

Cultural Facilities | Aug 5, 2022

A time and a place: Telling American stories through architecture

As the United States enters the year 2026, it will commence celebrating a cycle of Sestercentennials, or 250th anniversaries, of historic and cultural events across the land.

Museums | Jun 28, 2022

The California Science Center breaks grounds on its Air and Space Center

The California Science Center—a hands-on science center in Los Angeles—recently broke ground on its Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category


Giants 400

Top 90 Construction Management Firms for 2022

CBRE, Alfa Tech, Jacobs, and Hill International head the rankings of the nation's largest construction management (as agent) and program/project management firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.


Giants 400

Top 200 Contractors for 2022

Turner Construction, STO Building Group, Whiting-Turner, and DPR Construction top the ranking of the nation's largest general contractors, CM at risk firms, and design-builders for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.


Giants 400

Top 45 Engineering Architecture Firms for 2022

Jacobs, AECOM, WSP, and Burns & McDonnell top the rankings of the nation's largest engineering architecture (EA) firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: