flexiblefullpage
billboard
interstitial1
catfish1
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 | Jun 20, 2024

Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

In Greenwich, Conn., the Bruce Museum, a multidisciplinary institution highlighting art, science, and history, has undergone a campus revitalization and expansion that more than doubles the museum’s size. Designed by EskewDumezRipple and built by Turner Construction, the project includes a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition as well as a comprehensive renovation of the 32,500-sf museum, which was originally built as a private home in the mid-19th century and expanded in the early 1990s. 

Libraries | Jun 7, 2024

7 ways to change 'business as usual': The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

One hundred forty years ago, Theodore Roosevelt had a vision that is being realized today. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is a cutting-edge example of what’s possible when all seven ambitions are pursued to the fullest from the beginning and integrated into the design at every phase and scale.

Cultural Facilities | Apr 8, 2024

Multipurpose sports facility will be first completed building at Obama Presidential Center

When it opens in late 2025, the Home Court will be the first completed space on the Obama Presidential Center campus in Chicago. Located on the southwest corner of the 19.3-acre Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, the Home Court will be the largest gathering space on the campus. Renderings recently have been released of the 45,000-sf multipurpose sports facility and events space designed by Moody Nolan.

Cultural Facilities | Mar 27, 2024

Kansas City’s new Sobela Ocean Aquarium home to nearly 8,000 animals in 34 habitats

Kansas City’s new Sobela Ocean Aquarium is a world-class facility home to nearly 8,000 animals in 34 habitats ranging from small tanks to a giant 400,000-gallon shark tank. 

Cultural Facilities | Mar 26, 2024

Renovation restores century-old Brooklyn Paramount Theater to its original use

The renovation of the iconic Brooklyn Paramount Theater restored the building to its original purpose as a movie theater and music performance venue. Long Island University had acquired the venue in the 1960s and repurposed it as the school’s basketball court.

Museums | Mar 25, 2024

Chrysler Museum of Art’s newly expanded Perry Glass Studio will display the art of glassmaking

In Norfolk, Va., the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Perry Glass Studio, an educational facility for glassmaking, will open a new addition in May. That will be followed by a renovation of the existing building scheduled for completion in December.

Museums | Mar 11, 2024

Nebraska’s Joslyn Art Museum to reopen this summer with new Snøhetta-designed pavilion

In Omaha, Neb., the Joslyn Art Museum, which displays art from ancient times to the present, has announced it will reopen on September 10, following the completion of its new 42,000-sf Rhonda & Howard Hawks Pavilion. Designed in collaboration with Snøhetta and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, the Hawks Pavilion is part of a museum overhaul that will expand the gallery space by more than 40%.

Performing Arts Centers | Feb 27, 2024

Frank Gehry-designed expansion of the Colburn School performing arts center set to break ground

In April, the Colburn School, an institute for music and dance education and performance, will break ground on a 100,000-sf expansion designed by architect Frank Gehry. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the performing arts center will join the neighboring Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Grand by Gehry, forming the largest concentration of Gehry-designed buildings in the world.

Giants 400 | Feb 8, 2024

Top 20 Public Library Construction Firms for 2023

Gilbane Building Company, Skanska USA, Manhattan Construction, McCownGordon Construction, and C.W. Driver Companies top BD+C's ranking of the nation's largest public library general contractors and construction management (CM) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report. 

Giants 400 | Feb 8, 2024

Top 30 Public Library Engineering Firms for 2023

KPFF Consulting Engineers, Tetra Tech High Performance Buildings Group, Thornton Tomasetti, WSP, and Dewberry top BD+C's ranking of the nation's largest public library engineering and engineering/architecture (EA) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report.

boombox1
boombox2
native1

More In Category

Museums

Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

In Greenwich, Conn., the Bruce Museum, a multidisciplinary institution highlighting art, science, and history, has undergone a campus revitalization and expansion that more than doubles the museum’s size. Designed by EskewDumezRipple and built by Turner Construction, the project includes a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition as well as a comprehensive renovation of the 32,500-sf museum, which was originally built as a private home in the mid-19th century and expanded in the early 1990s. 



Cultural Facilities

Multipurpose sports facility will be first completed building at Obama Presidential Center

When it opens in late 2025, the Home Court will be the first completed space on the Obama Presidential Center campus in Chicago. Located on the southwest corner of the 19.3-acre Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, the Home Court will be the largest gathering space on the campus. Renderings recently have been released of the 45,000-sf multipurpose sports facility and events space designed by Moody Nolan.


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