Kennedy Center Unveils Bold, $100-Million Expansion
In a bold, interactive plan, which links people, gardens, river, president and the performing arts, the Kennedy Center announced its first major expansion since it opened in 1971. Rehearsals will be seen with monuments in the background; plantings will honor the center’s namesake, the 35th president, John F. Kennedy; as stage will float on the river. It is not a done deal, as the designs must pass muster from regulators, and the project will cost $100 million, not the $450 million required for a 2005 design that called for steps coming from the main esplanade to the edge of the Potomac River. Also, this new project will be privately funded.
At press time, here is the information from the Kennedy Center:
“Each year, millions of people nationwide take part in innovative, inclusive, and effective education programs initiated by the center, including school- and community-based residencies and consultancies, age-appropriate performances and events for young people, career development for young actors, dancers, singers and instrumentalists, and professional learning opportunities for teachers, teaching artists and school administrators. The expansion project will provide much-needed classroom space and multipurpose rooms for lectures and symposia”.
“After careful consideration, the selection committee unanimously recommended the firm of Steven Holl Architects to the full board.”
“Holl’s initial concept for the project includes three connected pavilions that will house classrooms, rehearsal rooms, education for arts managers, lecture space, multipurpose rooms, and limited office space. In the initial concept, one pavilion will float on the Potomac River and offer an outdoor stage. Public gardens will fill out the space, fusing the Kennedy Center with the landscape and river. The exteriors will utilize translucent Okalux, glass, and Carrara marble, the same Italian marble which clads 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.”