Kostow Greenwood Architects - James Earl Jones Theatre Annex, a way to enhance and extend the life of the 100 year old landmarked
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James Earl Jones Theatre Annex, a way to enhance and extend the life of the 100 year old landmarked

Kostow Greenwood Architects

Culture  /  Completed
Kostow Greenwood Architects

The idea of the project was conceived as a way to enhance and extend the life of the 100 year old landmarked theatre and improve the surrounding theatre community by expanding and upgrading the historic theatre to provide modern day standards for both production and audience amenities. This was made possible by the acquisition of an adjacent 25-foot property, and project funding through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and the NYC Theatre Rehab Bonus to create additional FAR. The concept was developed through multiple meetings with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, the local community board and the owner to ensure the expansion would be appropriate for the historic theatre and to optimize and fulfill the program requirements.

The historic building is located within the heart of Times Square, accessible by public transportation from almost every corner of New York City. Despite this ideal location, wayfinding proves more difficult due to surrounding buildings and lack of prominent signage compared to other Broadway theatres. To improve access and visibility for the public and the larger performance community, the design of the building entailed adding a new LED video display and theatre identification sign on the Annex, which are both visible from Broadway and aligned with a thru-block public promenade across the street.

The project's approach to sustainability was to offset the energy inefficiencies of the existing theatre and to improve the human comfort and well-being of the occupants. By retaining and upgrading the existing 100 year old theatre, the overall potential carbon footprint of the project was reduced greatly and allows the building to survive for another 100 years as a state of the art venue. New dedicated mechanical systems were installed in the historic theatre, but upgrading the thermal envelope of the historic theatre was not feasible to preserve its landmark status. To compensate, the Annex is designed as a high-performance shell containing high-efficiency building systems and materials, all of which improve the indoor air quality and minimize the impact on the climate.

The James Earl Jones Theatre Annex is designed as a series of moments that showcase the historic theatre's themes, motifs, beauty, and functionality in a modern manner. The Annex facade carries horizontal datums and is designed using classical proportions derived from the theatre architecture. Five strategically placed corner windows are featured on the Annex to highlight interior activity and provide views to the historic facade when traversing the monumental grand stairway. The interior material palette utilizes high-performance materials inspired by the theatre and contains an digitally printed mural spanning all 5 levels of the Annex referencing Marie Antoinette, a theme of the historic theatre.

In the historic theatre the original beauty of the landmarked venue was restored. This included the restoration of the stone facade, ticket lobby, original plasterwork, Marie Antoinette mural above the soundboard, and illuminated blue glass proscenium.

The program goals involved relocating and enlarging many patron and back-of-house spaces (bars, restrooms, dressing rooms) from the original theatre into the Annex. One of the largest design challenges was the need to structurally stabilize the historic theatre, while maximizing available space on the Annex lot. However, by working closely with the owner, the program was determined to optimize usage and efficiency.

The Theatre has undergone historic refurbishments to the interior and rehabilitation of the historic landmark’s façade, as well as the creation of a new, modern annex to compliment the historic theatre. The new space, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, is fully accessible and features lounges and new restrooms for theatre patrons, as well as dressing rooms, a rehearsal space and offices for theatre staff. These renovations have created an enhanced experience for both patrons and performers

Credits

 New York
 New York, USA
 The Shubert Organization
 Performing Arts / Theatre
 09/2022
 1811 mq
 Confidential
 Kostow Greenwood Architects
 Michael Kostow, Lena Fan, Gary Li, Jungin (Jay) Chang, Mitchell Koch
 JRM Construction Management LLC
 Francesca Russo Architect (Restoration Architect), Pavane & Kwalbrun Engineers, Omnitech Engineering, M. Chetrit Consulting Engineering, McLaren Engineering Group, William Dailey Building and Zoning Consultant, Acoustic Distinctions, Schuler Shook, CBA Elevator Consultants, Grand Image
 Patella, Carnegie Textiles, FLOS, WAC Lighting, VIVA Rail, Neacera, Reider, Bloomsburg Carpet, Nemo, Santa & Cole, Decoustics, Lee Broom, Walker Zanger, Micro Panel, Mora Ceramics,
 Adrian Wilson & Whitney Cox

Curriculum

Established in 1987 with the purpose of bringing the quality and professionalism of a large-firm approach to the context of a small-firm practice. We offer a creative design-driven approach and develop unique solutions that are specifically tailored to the individual needs of our clients. We are leaders in the design of media and broadcast facilities including: studios, control rooms, technical operations, production and post-production workplaces for industry giants such as NBC, CNN, HBO, Nickelodeon, VH-1 and WNYC. We have extensive experience in the design of cultural and institutional projects including performing arts venues, theatres, art galleries, schools and libraries for such clients as The Shubert Organization and the Apollo Theater. We have completed many award winning historic preservation and adaptive re-use projects including the Longacre Theatre, the Centennial Memorial Temple and Loews Metropolitan Theatre. We are proud to be a woman owed business (WBE).

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