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Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer

Los Angeles, CA | New York, NY

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The façade of the new Center for the Performing Arts. Photo: Richard Barnes
The façade of the new Center for the Performing Arts. Photo: Richard Barnes
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Brooklyn College Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts

The new Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts is an iconic presence at the intersection of Campus Road and Hillel Place, serving as a new gateway to Brooklyn College. The 30-foot-high portal, highly transparent façade and interplay of brick, metal and glass symbolize not only the evolution of the arts at Brooklyn College, but also the transformative relationship between campus and community. 

The Center replaces Gershwin Hall, an early 1950’s brick building, that, with its large blank walls, turned its back on the neighborhood. Demolishing this outdated facility provided the architects the opportunity to both create contemporary, acoustically superb spaces for music and theater, as well as to establish a new, welcoming entrance to the campus.

The Center’s focal point is a 225-seat multipurpose venue, which incorporates the existing stage house of the Gershwin Theater. By introducing variable acoustics, creating an acoustical shell that “flies” into place, and providing a stage extension with seating lifts, the venue can quickly transform from a proscenium theater to a classically shaped concert hall, excelling in meeting the needs of both music and theater. On the second level of the building is a 30-foot-high orchestra rehearsal room that doubles as a performance space and a campus-wide event space.

Working closely with faculty, administrators and facility representatives, the architects created a facility that contributes to the life of the campus, transforms the interface between the College and its neighbors and meets the needs of music and theater now and into the future.

 
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Status: Built
Location: 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Firm Role: Architect of Record/Designer
Additional Credits: Construction Manager: Hill International, Inc,; Theater Consultant, Acoustician, Structural and MEP Engineeer, IT: Arup; Civil Engineer: KS Engineers, P.C.; A/V & Technology: Cerami & Associates, Inc.; Lighting: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design; Landscape Architect: Mathews Nieldsen Lanscape Architecture, P.C; Graphics/Signage: Two Twelve Harakawa,Inc.

 
Main entry and new campus portal Photo: Richard Barnes
Main entry and new campus portal
Photo: Richard Barnes
Double-height lobby, which doubles as special event space. Photo: Richard Barnes
Double-height lobby, which doubles as special event space. Photo: Richard Barnes
The new multipurpose theater in concert mode with the shell deployed. Photo: Richard Barnes
The new multipurpose theater in concert mode with the shell deployed. Photo: Richard Barnes
The lobby's grand stair. Photo: Richard Barnes
The lobby's grand stair. Photo: Richard Barnes
The multipurpose theater in theater mode, with the orchestra shell up.
The multipurpose theater in theater mode, with the orchestra shell up.
The towering window in the Instrument Rehearsal Room offers views to the campus green. Photo: Brooklyn College
The towering window in the Instrument Rehearsal Room offers views to the campus green. Photo: Brooklyn College
The Theater Rehearsal Hall also serves as performance venue. Photo: Richard Barnes
The Theater Rehearsal Hall also serves as performance venue. Photo: Richard Barnes
The Instrument Rehearsal Hall. Photo: Richard Barnes
The Instrument Rehearsal Hall. Photo: Richard Barnes
Many of the music studios feature views of LaGuardia library and the campus. Photo: Richard Barnes
Many of the music studios feature views of LaGuardia library and the campus. Photo: Richard Barnes
Ledges, nooks and benches throughout the building encourage hanging out. Photo: Brooklyn College
Ledges, nooks and benches throughout the building encourage hanging out. Photo: Brooklyn College