Diamond Schmitt; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners - David Geffen Hall, all about greater connections
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David Geffen Hall, all about greater connections

Diamond Schmitt; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners

Culture  /  Completed
Diamond Schmitt; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners

Designed by Max Abramovitz in 1962, David Geffen Hall has undergone multiple renovations to address long-standing acoustical challenges. We were tasked to address the acoustical deficiencies and to invigorate the public spaces. To be more welcoming, the concept of a “Living Room” for Lincoln Center and New York City had emerged - with a lush material palette and comfortable seating arrangements for public use throughout the day. By immersing ourselves in the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center’s operations, the hall was tailored to their feedback. The new concert hall transforms the existing hall from a cavernous rectilinear shoebox into a curvilinear, unified room with improved acoustics and optimized sightlines, guided by acoustical principles.

David Geffen Hall sits on a position of prominence on Lincoln Center’s main plaza, neighboring David Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera. The iconic building is transparent on all sides and the most visible from Broadway, yet previously lacked the character and identity of its surrounding cultural venues. By imbuing the interior with color, reorganizing the interior to activate the ground floor for the public, and adding a “Light Frieze” to the top level - the new Hall has a new exciting presence on the campus. Functionally, the project also addressed longstanding accessibility issues by introducing a new ADA ramp along Broadway, and increasing the number of elevators, wheelchair platform lifts, gender neutral bathrooms, and new nursing rooms for public use.

A key goal of re-imagining DGH was to maximize its use while retaining as much of the existing building as possible - reducing energy and waste of demolition and reconstruction. The project has a two-year purchase agreement to procure 100% of electricity for this LEED project that meets the Green definition for renewable power. Air quality and open areas provide improved circulation and activity throughout the space. State of the art ionization and air exchanges were added to the common areas, among the audience, and for musicians. Throughout, durable materials were selected to ensure longevity. Not only does it meet the social and technical needs of the present, but it anticipates future needs ensuring success and sustainability as both a performing arts venue and a civic hub.

What was once a building with bland, tangled common spaces and an acoustically challenged hall, is now a living instrument. With flexible spaces for performance, a material palette imbued with warmth, color and glamor, and an entirely reconstructed hall emphasizing audience connection and resonant acoustics, the building brings a new energy to Lincoln Center’s Campus - all while respecting its iconic exterior. By removing extraneous ticket booths at the entrance and moving vertical circulation to the perimeter, the lobby’s square footage has more than doubled. Ground floor offices were moved to the top level, opening up a new public-facing multipurpose performance space. On the Grand Promenade, two new overlooks provide more space for refreshments, programming opportunities and places to see and be seen. Throughout, finishes and furnishings with vivid colors, patterns and textures mirror the spirit and vibrancy of performance. The new concert hall transforms the existing hall from a cavernous rectilinear shoebox into a curvilinear, unified room with improved acoustics and optimized sightlines. Guided by acoustical principles, the seating of the hall was reduced from 2,700 to 2,200, improving access to sound and allowing for a more intimate connection between audience and performers - each seat is now 30 percent closer to the performers. Custom CNC-milled beechwood panels line the hall and contribute to the significantly improved acoustical qualities of the room.

“This project is all about greater connections. The new concert hall unites performers and audiences; the dynamic public spaces allow our communities — from visiting schools to concertgoers wanting to stay for a drink — to connect with each other. And the whole project re-sets how we engage with the outside world.” - Henry Timms, President and CEO of Lincoln Center.


 New York City
 New York, USA
 Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts / The New York Philharmonic
 Performing Arts Venue, Music Hall
 20935 mq
  550,000,000.00 $
 Diamond Schmitt; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
 Diamond Schmitt - Architect, Concert Theatre & Masterplan; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners - Architect, Public Spaces
 Turner Construction
 Akustiks - Acoustics; Fisher Dachs Associates - Theatre Design; Fisher Marantz Stone – Lighting Design; Thornton Tomasetti – Structural Engineer; Kohler Ronan – MEP Engineer
 Michael Moran, Richard Barnes, Taylor Knoche, Chris Lee, Diamond Schmitt, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners


Diamond Schmitt is a global architecture firm designing transformative, purpose-driven, and highly sustainable buildings from offices located in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. Through a collaborative research process, they deliver innovative architecture that empowers people, communities, and organizations to harness change for the greater public good. Known for exceptional performance and meticulous craftsmanship, the firm’s work can be found in more than 50 cities worldwide.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) is a New York City-based architectural firm founded in 1986. Their practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of enduring vision. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all, experience, are at the heart of what they design. Their work has been recognized by numerous national and international citations, including the AIA Architecture Firm Award in 2013.

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