NEW YORK, NY
Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary is being celebrated by a campus-wide redevelopment project including the renovation and expansion of the Guggenheim Bandshell at Damrosch Park. The renovation will energize the Bandshell with contemporary additions that respect its existing form and material, extends the facility’s performance potential, and removes existing problems. The strategy to update the Bandshell centers on adding contrasting new forms and materials whose geometries spring from those inherent in the Bandshell and whose function is wedded to the program requirements. Additions are transparent, so the solidly built Bandshell clearly dominates the scene.
The existing Bandshell is situated in a plaza where the audience sits, separated from the seating by fixed above-ground planters. The stage is too small and visually remote; sightlines to the stage are poor. The stage lacks technical infrastructure for entrances, lighting, scenery, and sound. Dressing rooms are inadequate and lack amenity. Finishes are deteriorated and systems are out of date. Concrete structure is sound but deteriorated.
The renovation will enlarge the stage and offstage areas. A square performance stage is placed on a circular stage platter. “Sacred geometries” are used to generate the new stage plan and lock in new elements by aligning with geometries hidden within the existing composition. The platter is formed by fitting a circular form into the nearly circular plan of the existing shell and overlapping another circle so that the center of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. A square is fitted around the downstage circle to form the performance platform. The circle imparts stability and completeness, offering a stable platform for the transitory performance art. The circle also provides a visual link to the iconic circular fountain at Lincoln Center’s main plaza.
A circular truss canopy is suspended from the towers over the stage to provide support for horizontal trusses carrying lighting and scenery. The canopy is delicately supported by cable stays that pass by the historic Bandshell. The canopy can be covered with a protective membrane to keep water from the stage.
Raised planters now separating the audience from the stage will be removed and the new stage will extend forward with forestage steps spilling out to the audience. The performance area is deeper and wider and offstage space is provided in the wings. The stage is accessible, as are dressing rooms and public bathrooms. Sightlines are improved by raising the stage 18 inches. Interior floor levels in the dressing rooms are adjusted to align with the new stage level. Troublesome defects of Bandshell and stage, such as acoustical focus effects, water leaks, and structural problems, will be eliminated with the application of weather resistant absorptive finishes, concrete repair and coating, and cathodic protection for reinforcing steel. Dressing rooms are provided with upgraded finishes and toilets and new public bathrooms are provided.
Tower structures straddle the stage and extend alongside the audience area. The towers reinforce the edge of the plaza, and heighten the scale of the Bandshell and strengthen visual links between the plaza and stage. Stage towers support stage lighting, house lighting, and speakers. Towers alongside the audience support lighting and a web of cables forming a light-handed sense of enclosure. Permanent towers and guy cable anchors will concentrate loads on to existing structures, making efficient use of the existing structures and avoiding substantial structural alterations. Equipment is seasonally demounted.
An acoustic enhancement system will distribute sound over the entire plaza, mimicking interior room acoustics with lingering and enveloping sounds, reflections and reverberation created using digital processing techniques.
A spectacular lighting presentation will activate the Bandshell as an art-presentation surface. A pixilated LED video system will be used to light the shell and provide large scale images that can project the live performance, support it with supplementary images, or provide large scale video work at non-performance times.